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November 28, 2008
For immediate release
Five-year Capital Budget to Invest More than $500 Million to Stimulate Island Economy
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One Island Future – Capital Estimates 2009 - 2010 sets forth a $510 million plan that will stimulate our economy and address long-term needs and current challenges.
“Our Government is continuing to invest in our most important priorities – healthcare, education and our communities,” said Minister Sheridan. “In these times of global economic uncertainty, the people of this province need to know their government will be there for them. This Capital Budget clearly demonstrates that we will be.”
Government will increase its capital investment levels in the first three years of the plan to stimulate our economy, before returning to normal spending levels in the last two years.
This plan will invest $116.8 million in health care infrastructure over the next five years. This includes $53.4 million for Queen Elizabeth Hospital redevelopment, $1.2 million for Prince County Hospital Dialysis services and $2.5 million for youth-at-risk. Government will also allocate $50.8 million to modernize and upgrade our long-term care facilities, including $22 million to replace the Prince Edward Home, $14 million for Summerset Manor in Summerside, $9 million for Colville Manor in Souris and $3.7 million for O’Leary Hospital/Beechwood Clinic. Funding for the replacement of Maplewood Manor in Alberton and Riverview Manor in Montague is planned and will commence within this 5-year budget cycle.
The capital budget for highway infrastructure will be $254.5 million over the next five years. This funding will enable government to rebuild more than 700 kilometres of roads and repair 35 bridges in the coming years. This includes $1 million in much- needed road improvements for our First Nation’s reserves. This budget also contains funds to partner with the Federal Government on a renewed Atlantic Gateway project.
The Budget commits $41.8 million over the next 5 years to further strengthen the school system. Funding will go toward the completion of school construction in Montague and Summerside, a French language school in the Rustico region (École St. Augustin), an expansion of the École François Buote and new funds to expand trades training programs within the public education system.
An emerging bioscience sector will receive $15 million towards the establishment of a new BioCommons Research Park and another $19 million will be invested in our information technology systems.
Government will devote $5 million to a Provincial Emergency Radio System, which will assist responders when unforeseen events strike our province. In addition, another $325,000 will be spent to upgrade the 911 system.
A Corrections Modernization Program will receive $17 million, and $5.3 million will go toward a new analytical laboratory service to enhance the testing and safety of our water, food and plants.
The Province’s school bus fleet will receive $10.7 million.
Minister Sheridan also recognized the importance of federal partnerships to realizing many Island goals. “Much of what we set out to do is made possible by the strong relationship we have with our federal partners,” he said. “In fact, the foundation of this five-year strategy can be traced to the historic agreement signed last spring respecting infrastructure programs. We look forward to continuing this important partnership.”
It is expected that over the next five years, the spending announced today will create 5043 jobs, generate $39.3 million in new provincial tax revenues and add $278 million to our local gross domestic product.
“This Capital Budget spending is strategic, and will result in a stronger economy down the road,” said Minister Sheridan. “Continuing to invest in our Island community is the best way to weather any challenges we may face as a result of downturns in the global economy.”