Construction industry worried over Alberta budget
News that Alberta is facing a tough provincial budget in 2013 has the construction industry worried about possible cuts to infrastructure spending.
"There's been a heightened awareness for sure in the last week or so by our members, " said Heidi Harris-Jensen from the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.
"We've been kind of anticipating it, but definitely nervous about what's going to happen come budget time."
In a televised address last week, Premier Alison Redford warned that an expected $6 billion drop in oil revenue will force the province to make some "very difficult choices."
Redford didn't specify what will get trimmed in the March 7th budget, but some, like Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson, hope the province makes cuts to its capital plan. .
Harris-Jensen says the uncertainty has led companies to hold back on buying new equipment and hiring workers.
"Just because they feel like there is a bit of an unknown that's on its way come budget time this spring," she said.
Transportation Minister Ric McIver says the government is looking to save money wherever possible but Infrastructure Minister Wayne Drysdale says the province will build what's needed.
"It's going to be a tough budget for sure, but we've got to balance between what we have to do for the needs of Albertans and balancing the books," he said.
In October, the government promised to have Highway 63 between Grassland and Fort McMurray completely twinned by 2016. The province is borrowing to finance the $1.1 billion project which also includes improvements to Highway 881.