NB Government Tables $1 Billion Capital Budget

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NB Government Tables $1 Billion Capital Budget

The Government of New Brunswick announces that it will invest more than expected in the maintenance of roads and bridges in the province.

In its budget for infrastructure projects, Fredericton is announcing higher-than-expected investments in almost every area except health.

New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves tabled a capital budget for 2023-2024 that reflects the government's strong financial health.

Total announced investments amount to more than a billion dollars, or 152 million more than what was forecast in the multi-year plan presented last year.

However, according to this plan, annual investments should be reduced gradually over the next four fiscal years to reach $839 million in 2027-2028.

And the Minister of Finance ensures that debt reduction remains the top priority. We are on track to reduce net debt by more than $2 billion since taking office. Our public debt service is lower than it otherwise would have been, which will mitigate the impact of rising interest rates, said New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steves.

The infrastructure budget for the Ministry of Social Development jumped 300%.

It indeed climbs from 12 million dollars, to 50 million, and should remain at this level for three years and then go back down to 17 million dollars.

Social housing under construction on Charlotte Street in Fredericton.

Primarily, these new investments will be used for maintenance and improvement programs for social housing and nursing homes.

The government had already announced an investment of $33 million for the construction of social housing.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is seeing its budget increase by 42% for 2023-2024.

A total of $64 million will be spent on design work and renovation of eight schools. There will also be new schools in Saint-Jean, Shediac Cape and Campbellton.

Fredericton is spending several million dollars to upgrade school ventilation systems.

$46 million is also planned for various school upgrades, including an upgrade to ventilation systems .

The budget of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure increases by more than 73 million dollars for a total of 563 million.

Of this amount, $477 million will be spent on roads and bridges. Work will continue, for example, on the Edmundston-Madawaska International Bridge, the Centennial and Anderson Bridges in the Miramichi region, the Saint-Jean Harbor Bridge and the Coles Island Bridges, near Sussex.

Centennial Bridge over the Miramichi River

The budget of this ministry also provides $55 million for the improvement and maintenance of public buildings as well as $5 million for installations in the field of renewable energies.

The budget in infrastructure from the Ministry of Health will be 9% less than forecast in the multi-year plan. It is expected that this budget will continue to decrease until 2027-2028.

For the next fiscal year, $95 million is planned for continued work at the Chaleur Hospital in Bathurst and Dr. Everett-Charmers Hospital in Fredericton, as well as the Saint John Regional Hospital and the Moncton Hospital.

Work will make it possible to fit out the public health laboratory at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Center in Moncton, New Brunswick.

There will also be a modernization of the coronary care unit at the Moncton Hospital and a renovation of the Dr Georges-L. Dumont to move the public health lab there.

Kent North Green MP Kevin Arseneau attributes most of the increase in infrastructure spending to the #x27;inflation.

Green MP Kevin Arseneau believes the government could have invested more in infrastructure, roads and social housing.

I find the minister's speech today to be dishonest and ill-intentioned. Basically, it was: "We announce you a billion dollars" when we know that it is inflation. It's just an increase in costs, launched the Green MP.

Kevin Arseneau gave the example of the costs associated with the construction and maintenance of roads. I don't think we're going to do a lot more roads. I see it in my constituency, there are cost explosions where, usually, to do a stretch of road, it costs two or three times more than it cost before.

Bathurst-West-Beresford MP Rene Legacy says the budget doesn't include much more spending than it three or four years ago.

The Liberal MP for Bathurst-Ouest-Beresford, René Legacy, agrees. We applaud the fact that we're going to have three new schools this year, but a few years ago it was the norm, three new schools, so we basically cut budgets to a point where we appreciate any increase, but it's just bringing us back to the standard we had maybe three four years ago.

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