2005-06 Capital Budget is 13.7 per cent higher than last year (04/12/16)

NB 1439

Dec. 16, 2004

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The 2005-2006 Capital Budget highlights the government's commitment to invest more in health and senior care, education and infrastructure, including needed infrastructure investments in some of the province's rural roads.

Finance Minister Jeannot Volpé today announced a budget with $423.8 million in gross capital spending, a $51.2 million or 13.7 per cent increase from the 2004-05 revised budget.

Finance Minister Jeannot Volpé - Video: (Original) (Interpretation) Audio: (WMA)- (more audio/video)

"In the last year, the government made difficult decisions to get our finances in order," Volpé said. "As a result, we are in a better position to make key strategic investments for people, for communities and families throughout the province."

Highlights follow:

The capital budget for the Department of Health and Wellness is $95.7 million, a 66.6 percent or $38.3 million increase over 2004-2005 revised figures.

This investment includes $35.5 million for diagnostic and medical equipment funding. It also includes $55.8 million for capital construction, including:

The Department of Education's capital budget provides $48.0 million for strategic investments in new schools and funding for the repair and rehabilitation of existing schools.

The estimates also contain $3.5 million for repairs and renovations to the community college network; this is a substantial increase over the $2.0 million that has been invested in each year since 2001-2002.

The capital budget for the Department of Transportation is $242.1 million. Of this, $235.1 million is provided for roads and highways. It provides for an investment of:

"In addition to the $235.1 million, there will be at least a further $100 million in additional road construction activity for the Route 2 developer portion of the Trans Canada Highway," Volpé said. "This represents a minimum 42.7 per cent increase in road construction activity over the current year."

Individual ministers will provide details during presentation of their department's capital estimates for 2005-2006. However, among other projects mentioned in the finance minister's speech, are the following:

"Today's capital investments show that the government has made clear choices and set priorities," Volpé said. "We have targeted our financial resources, while being careful and fiscally responsible."


EDITOR'S NOTE: The text of the minister's speech and the capital estimates will be posted online at MEDIA CONTACT: Vicky Deschênes, communications, Finance, 506-453-2451.