The Conservative government has spent more than $46,000 to turn two GO train cars into rolling advertisements along the Lakeshore line for its stimulus spending program.

The opposition parties have criticized the Conservatives for wasting money on self-promotion rather than spending scarce public dollars on informing the public about such matters as the H1N1 virus.

Faisal Rasheed of Toronto’s WestPalm Media, an advertising firm contracted to sell ads on the provincially owned GO Transit system, said ordinarily the rate to wrap a train car is $75,000 for eight weeks. Rasheed said the federal government prohibited him from revealing details of the contract, including how many train cars were involved.

Chris Day, spokesman for Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird, said the money is well spent, and the deal is for far less than the going rate.

“We paid $44,000 net (before taxes) to fully cover both sides of two cars … and as such our innovative ad campaign can be seen for 10 weeks,” Day said. “We think this is good value for Canadian taxpayers.”