Sask. increases infrastructure investment by $2B to aid economic recovery
REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan announced a $2 billion increase in infrastructure investment over two years, to assist economic growth following damage done by COVID-19.
The investment is a two-year capital plan, with a total investment of $7.5 billion with the increase announced on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is a $2 billion economic booster-shot over and above the $5.5 billion our government had already planned to invest in capital projects over the next two years and will be an important step in our province’s economic recovery,” Premier Moe said.
The package includes the $2.7 billion Crown and executive government capital spending from the government’s 2020-21 estimate, as well as the $2.8 billion projected for next year.
The government says the increase in investment will help balance the need for “smaller, short-term projects” to help kick-start the economy, and get people back to work. These projects are expected to leverage several job sectors in the coming years.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the provincial economy was already facing headwinds through depressed resource prices, anti-pipeline policies and rail blockades,” Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association President Shantel Lipp said. “The announcement today will mean a big boost in the arm not only to the construction industry but to the province as a whole.”
Allocation of additional $2 billion
- $1.37 billion for large projects, including $103 million for health, $110.5 million for education. Projects to be ready to begin by 2021-22.
- More than $300 million for highway projects including surface upgrades and passing lanes, including $46 million for upgrades to city roads and airports
- Roughly $181 million for renewal projects, including $100 million for health, $25.9 million for education with the remainder going to various other projects in other ministries.
- $150 million in per capita payment via a new “Municipal Economic Enhancement Program” to support projects in communities across the province.
“The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is very pleased that the province has made the Infrastructure Stimulus announcement today,” SARM President Ray Orb said. “Investing in municipal infrastructure projects will help rural municipalities in rural Saskatchewan and will certainly help the provincial economy to recover.”
Allocation of $2.7 billion in capital funding
- $130 million will go toward seven new schools and three school renovations including a new joint-use school in Harbour Landing in Regina and a joint-use consolidation of Regina’s St. Peter, St. Michael and Imperial Schools. Other projects include St. Frances in Saskatoon, the consolidation of Princess Alexandra, King George and Pleasant Hill schools in Saskatoon, and a new school in Carrot River.
- $142 million for health care capital spending including $15 million to support expanding the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital, $15.7 million to continue building a 72-bed long-term senior’s facility in Meadow Lake, and $4 million for diagnostic imaging including $2 million for a new CT scanner in Melfort.
- $377.5 million for transportation, including $357.6 million for 1,000 kilometres of highway improvements, $65 million for the “Enhanced Infrastructure Safety Program”, $19.9 million for municipal infrastructure.
- $165.7 million for municipal infrastructure comprised of transfers to municipalities including the Gas Tax Fund ($62.6 million), Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program ($56 million), New Building Canada Fund ($45 million), transit assistance for people with disabilities ($0.8 million), Communities in Transition Funding ($0.7 million), and Clean Water and Waste Water Fund ($0.6 million).”
“We’ve been advocating for years for the development of a provincial infrastructure program, and we’re extremely pleased to see our provincial government implement one to help our economy recover in these challenging times,” Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association President Gordon Barnhart said.
“We salute the government’s funding for a myriad of projects throughout the province and in particular funding that we will see here in the Queen City for much needed infrastructure improvements be they within hospitals, education facilities, roadways and or many other areas of need," Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins said.