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HALIFAX – The union representing Nova Scotia’s provincial highway workers says news that paving costs have gone up 20 per cent should come as no surprise.

CUPE National Representative Peter Baxter says, “The NS Highway Workers’ Union (CUPE 1867) warned the McNeil government back in 2013 that selling off the department’s new mobile paving plant would drive prices up.

“That is exactly what has happened and Nova Scotia taxpayers are now footing the bill for this mistake. The mobile plant was sold for a fraction of what taxpayers paid for it, just one day after Premier McNeil was sworn in,” he says.

CUPE 1867 President Steve Joy says, “When the previous government put that plant into operation, the price for asphalt fell to $45 a ton from $59, savings that led to more kilometers of paving for Nova Scotians, especially in remote communities that contractors had been ignoring.”

Baxter says, “As predicted by our union, the move by the Liberal government eliminated competition for a small group of highly-profitable contractors who’ve dominated the paving industry in our province for decades.

“For a province that is preaching fiscal restraint at every turn, this sure doesn’t look good on them,” he says.