Late infrastructure money slows road work
Build Canada money promised last year still not delivered, says province
Members of the P.E.I. Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association are worried 2014 will be a lean year, and the province is blaming Ottawa for not delivering promised cash.
Association executive director Joe Murphy said many federally-funded infrastructure projects have come to an end, as has the largest project in recent years, the realignment of the Trans-Canada Highway in Bonshaw.
In the fall the P.E.I. government announced a capital budget of $27 million for projects to improve highways and additional funding for the Bonshaw Hills Wilderness Park. It said it plans to spend less on roads and bridges than in the last few years, now that the recession is over.
Murphy said as provincial projects wind down there seems to be a drop of private work as well.
"We're just concerned that that is probably not enough to keep our members busy," he said.
"If there was more federal money coming on the Build Canada fund this year it would be great, but it doesn't sound like we're going to get any for this summer. So that's a concern. So we will continue to pressure government to try to find more money for us to keep everybody going."
The association is concerned without new projects skilled workers could leave the province and perhaps not return.
P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said part of the problem is that federal money for infrastructure programs promised in last years' federal budget, still hasn't come through.
"We're still waiting for the details that were attached to the infrastructure program that they announced last year at this time," said Sheridan.
"Therefore, of course, this spring's work is an unknown."
Sheridan said the province tries to get out tenders as early as it can, but without cash in hand it cannot make commitments.