Alward government to unveil capital budget
Little 'new' funding expected
The Alward government will unveil its capital budget in the legislature on Tuesday, but very little funding for new construction projects is expected, despite recent warnings by the auditor general about roads.
Last year's capital budget, which included a three-year plan, suggested spending in the coming year would be up slightly to $438 million, but still down from record amounts under the previous Liberal government.
Last week, Auditor General Kim MacPherson urged the Alward government in her annual report to spend more on road repairs to avoid the need for even more expensive work in the future.
"The current funding levels are such that there is deterioration of our highways and the longer you wait, the more it's going to cost to get it back to the original state," MacPherson said.
Peter Flower, head of the New Brunswick Road Builders Association, hopes the provincial government will take the auditor general's advice.
"It was nice. The timing was great. It's in line with the message that we've been trying to put out there to the public," he said.
Still, Flower isn't getting his hopes up.
"I guess our expectations aren't too high," he said. "We're thinking it'll be what they said, it was last year when they rolled out their three-year or four-year plan."
The only big new item in Tuesday's capital budget is expected to be a new health care facility for Perth-Andover.
Health Minister Ted Flemming has hinted the provincial government will replace the existing hospital, which is located in the village's flood plain, with a new building on higher ground.
Earlier in November, the Department of Health said it would not pay for any more repairs or renovations at the hospital.
Labour and delivery services were moved after the flood to the Upper River Valley Hospital in Waterville, which is roughly 60 kilometres away. The provincial government has said it would not move those services back to Perth-Andover.