Federal budget lacks infrastructure spending for recession-ridden Alberta

Dec 19 2017, 3:15 am

There was much anticipation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first budget would include a major infusion in infrastructure investments for Alberta to help lift the province out of recession.

Earlier today, the Liberal government announced $11.9 billion in infrastructure spending across the country over five years, including $3.38 billion for public transit, $2.3 billion for social housing, and $5 billion for water, wastewater and green infrastructure projects.

Only $347 million has been designated for public transit projects in Alberta, largely split between Calgary and Edmonton. Given its population, Ontario received the largest public transit funding share – $1.47 billion, enough to cover much of the cost of replacing Toronto’s subway cars, buses, and streetcars.

This consists of the federal government’s first phase; a second phase in infrastructure investments, beginning in 2021 after the next election, will peg national infrastructure spending at $120 billion over 10 years. But there were hopes that the Liberals would front-load the investment to stimulate economic growth immediately.

The first phase in stimulus spending will increase national GDP by 0.5% in 2016 and 1% in 2017.

Here’s the statement released by Premier Rachel Notley:

We welcome Prime Minister Trudeau’s follow-through on his promise to invest in infrastructure, and we’re cautiously optimistic that when the province-by-province allocations become more clear, that Albertans will receive their fair share to complement the economic growth work tour government has already started through our own ambitious infrastructure investment.

We applaud the federal government’s determination to invest in clean technology. We believe that because of our climate leadership plan, Albertans and Alberta business are well positioned to access significant portions of that fund as we act on climate and diversify our economy. Innovation and technological advances will be key to Canada meeting its climate change commitments.

DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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