Capital spending in British Columbia is at record levels: finance minister
The health sector will get $6.4 billion for new construction projects; transportation will get $7.4 billion
VICTORIA — The B.C. government will spend $22.9 billion over the next three years on infrastructure, which Finance Minister Carole James says is the highest amount of capital spending in the province’s history.
The budget says the money already being spent to improve hospitals, roads, transit and schools is helping stimulate more than 100,000 jobs during construction.
The health sector will get $6.4 billion for new construction projects to be spent on buildings, medical and diagnostic equipment, and information management systems.
Projects that are slated to get funding include the redevelopment of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, new patient care facilities at the Royal Columbian Hospital in Kamloops, the replacement of the Penticton Regional Hospital, replacing Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace and building the new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Transportation will get $7.4 billion, which includes spending on the Pattullo Bridge replacement project and the Broadway subway extension in Metro Vancouver, and widening the Trans-Canada Highway through Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes.
Another $2.8 billion will be spent to maintain, replace or renovate kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, and $3.1 billion will be spent on post-secondary institutions.
The budget says the province’s population is forecast to grow by more than one million people over the next 15 years, after growing by close to one million between 2001 and 2019, mostly in the Lower Mainland.
“British Columbia is growing, and we need to ramp up infrastructure investments — digital and otherwise — to keep goods, services and people moving and B.C. businesses thriving,” Finance Minister Carole James said in her budget speech.