OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the federal government will have the last word on projects approved by a new, arm’s-length agency designed to merge billions in public and private infrastructure cash.

He says says the cabinet will always have some level of oversight when it comes to Ottawa’s soon-to-be-launched infrastructure bank.

Morneau says the government’s goal is to make the proposed bank as independent as possible from the standpoints of governance and management.

However, he says it’s also important for government to protect Canadians’ interests as huge infrastructure projects are taken into consideration.

Morneau says projects can be run and managed without government intrusion after the feds give them the green light.

The infrastructure bank is central to the Liberal economic growth strategy and is designed to use $35 billion in public dollars as leverage to attract billions more in private investment for large projects — including roads, bridges and public transit.

“It will be important to make sure for Canadians that as we consider large, transformative projects in our country that they’re done in the best interests of Canadians,” said Morneau, who added that capital lured by the bank will create jobs and enable far more spending on projects.

“So, we will always need to have some level of oversight.”

The bank, which will entice private capital by offering investors steady returns through user fees, has also come under fire from political opponents.

Rivals have heavily criticized the proposed Crown corporation, warning the agency will likely force Canadians to pay twice for their infrastructure — first through the public treasury and then through user fees that will generate corporate profits.

They have also accused the Liberals of giving global investors too much power over the agency’s blueprint — and, in particular, they have pounced on BlackRock Inc.’s involvement in the design process.

Conservatives and New Democrats have been trying to frame BlackRock’s role as evidence that Ottawa’s new bank will put the priorities of wealthy investors ahead of taxpayers.

On Monday, Liberal ministers were also asked repeatedly whether taxpayers would be forced to absorb losses from any bad loans through the bank.

The Canadian Press