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New Brunswick’s auditor-general has confirmed what provincial highway workers (CUPE 1190) have been saying for two years: the private toll highway is a bad deal.

The whole project, the Trans-Canada section between Fredericton and Moncton, was based on the former Liberal government’s desire to keep debt off its books, Daryl Wilson says in his annual audit. Instead of using the province’s own advantageous credit rating, the government opted for a much costlier arrangement that would not have to be reported as public spending. The arrangement means big profits for the company 006200610063ked by former Liberal cabinet minister Doug Young 007400680061t got the contract to build and maintain the highway.

The auditor-general criticizes the secrecy surrounding the deal: there is no documentation surrounding the cabinet’s deliberations and no evidence that other options were seriously explored. The Conservatives, who defeated the Liberals in the fall, promised to scrap the tolls, but not necessarily the privatization.