On Thursday, March 16, 2017, the Government of Alberta revealed the 2017 budget. The government in the past has recognised the importance of investing in infrastructure. ACA has always said that infrastructure investment is a way to keep good trade jobs in Alberta during difficult times in other parts of the economy.
The Government has increased the capital plan for the next 4 years by over a billion dollars to build much needed schools, health care facilities, and roads. That additional $1 billion means half a billion dollars in wages for hard working Albertans across the province. Half a billion dollars supports 6600 full time construction jobs in a year.
ACA supports a number of budget measures including increased funding of $46 million for apprenticeship delivery and new training opportunities as this will support construction jobs and families across Alberta. Building schools at an accelerated rate will assist young families and school systems under pressure, particularly in our larger communities. We also commend the government on making changes to control future spending.
We caution the government to continue to create more savings and find more ways to avoid increasing the deficit and government spending. It will hurt job growth and spending flexibility if the government is hampered by debt services which is set to increase to $2 Billion a year by 2020.
While the Fort McMurray fire was a large unaccounted for expense the government needs to explain its plan for the best way to bring the budget back to balance without impacting employment.
You can read about the budget here.
The Capital Plan will support $29.5 billion in infrastructure projects over 4 years, including:
- $7.6 billion in municipal infrastructure support, including $4.8 billion under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and $0.8 billion for GreenTRIP
- $4.7 billion for capital maintenance and renewal to ensure public facilities will continue to serve the needs of Albertans
- $3.8 billion for climate change and environmental sustainability
- $4.5 billion for health infrastructure including $400 million towards the planning and implementation of a new hospital in Edmonton, starting in 2018-19
- $2.6 billion for schools
- $3.1 billion for roads and bridges
- $100 million to support Albertans living on reserves who do not have reliable access to clean drinking water