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OTTAWA — Newly released documents show the federal government was unable to spend $2.14 billion in cash to rebuild roads, bridges and other large−scale projects that would help people in their day−to−day lives.

Overall, a recent department report shows spending from Infrastructure Canada was about 40 per cent lower than the $5.3 billion planned in the last fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2017.

The largest contributor to the shortfall was $1.48 billion that wasn’t spent on major construction projects like new transit and water systems, two key areas of focus on the Liberal agenda.

It’s not clear from the documents how long it will take for the money to actually flow to projects.

The figures put into dollars what the Liberals have found as they embark upon a multibillion−dollar infrastructure program: they can’t move cash fast enough out of the federal treasury for projects around the country.

The Liberals have said the change in spending is about managing cash flow to projects, rejecting opposition criticism that the idle money is a symptom of problems with the government’s program.

The Canadian Press

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