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Saskatchewan budget earmarks $2.7 billion for infrastructure

By ReNew Canada 09:19AM April 13, 2018

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Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations will invest more than $1.5 billion into infrastructure in 2018-19, while executive government ministries and agencies have more than $1.2 billion in capital investments outlined in the Saskatchewan Builds Capital Plan, a key component of this year’s budget.

“Our investments in infrastructure, building our highways, schools and hospitals are part of what makes life better for Saskatchewan people,” said Finance Minister Donna Harpauer. “This year’s budget keeps us on track with our plan to return to balance next year, while continuing to make investments in needed infrastructure.”

Investments in health infrastructure of $128.2 million include $34 million to complete construction of the new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford, scheduled to open this fall. This new facility replaces a more than century old hospital and is a significant commitment to address and improve mental health.

The Capital Plan also includes $20 million for the province’s final investment to complete construction of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. In addition, there is $65.4 million provided for maintenance and equipment in the plan, an increase of $15.0 million. The plan features nearly $691 million of investment in transportation infrastructure, including $330 million to continue construction of the Regina Bypass.

Other 2018-19 projects include:

  • $214.6 million for enhancement projects including 100 kilometres (km) of rural highway upgrades and safety projects such as passing lanes on Highways 6 and 39, and interchanges at Martensville and Warman;
  • $126 million for rehabilitation projects, which includes 280 km of repaving and numerous bridge rehabilitation projects;
  • $18 million in transfers related to municipal infrastructure programs such as Municipal Roads for the Economy, Urban Highway Connectors and community airports; and
  • $2.2 million for machinery, equipment and accommodations capital.

The plan invests more than $206 million in municipal infrastructure, including $190 million for cost-shared federal infrastructure programs, and $15 million to complete the government’s commitment to the Saskatoon North Commuter Parkway Bridge.

The plan has $76.4 million for K-12 schools and other education infrastructure, including:

  • $49.6 million, a $6.4 million increase for preventative maintenance and renewal;
  • $22.7 million, a $20.7 million increase to continue construction on two school consolidation projects in Weyburn and Rosthern;
  • $3.1 million for relocatables; and
  • $1.0 million for facility assessments. In 2018-19, $22.4 million will be provided for preventative maintenance for post-secondary institutions, an increase of $900,000 over last year.

The 2018-19 plan includes $116.7 million for capital which supports government services, including information technology infrastructure, the province’s forest firefighting capacity, court and corrections facilities, rehabilitation of provincially-owned dams, and maintenance and upgrades of government owned buildings, machinery and equipment.

In 2018-19, major Crown projects include $883 million at SaskPower, primarily to connect customers and expand electricity generation assets to meet growing customer power needs. SaskPower also plans to renew its distribution and transmission systems to ensure continued reliable service.

SaskTel plans investment of $298 million to increase and upgrade its wireless and wireline networks, improve customer service through network growth and modernization, enhance rural services, and continue the roll out of infiNet, its high-speed fibre-optic internet service.

SaskEnergy plans to invest $268 million to ensure the integrity of its natural gas transmission and distribution system, providing safe and reliable service that meets continually growing customer demand.

SaskWater plans to invest $34 million in 2018-19 for the creation of water and wastewater systems, and the maintenance of infrastructure to ensure the continued delivery of safe and reliable water and wastewater services.

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