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New Brunswick’s $1 billion capital budget targets roads, school and hospital upgrades

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New Brunswick unveils $1 billion capital budget for 2023-24
WATCH: New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves tabled the capital budget for next year on Tuesday, which for the first time is more than $1 billion. The spending includes new schools, with the government looking to catch up with growing enrolment, but the opposition says the efforts fall short. Silas Brown has more. – Dec 6, 2022

The New Brunswick government has tabled a $1-billion capital budget for 2023-24 that is $152.3 million more than contained in a multi-year plan released last year.

Finance Minister Ernie Steeves says the projected five-year capital spend reflects the needs associated with a growing population and costs due to high inflation.

The plan includes $110.2 million to improve infrastructure at public schools, an increase of 41.9 per cent over the plan released last year.

Steeves says the money will help with an influx of nearly 4,000 students at the province’s schools this year.

Another $50 million will go toward maintenance and improvements in nursing homes, with the bulk of that funding — $33 million — to build affordable public housing.

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Meanwhile, $477.4 million is going towards the maintenance and improvement of highways, roads and bridges with another $176 million for upgrades and equipment at hospitals.

Much of the health spending will go towards renovations at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, the Saint John Regional Hospital and the Moncton Hospital.

As well, space will be renovated at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton to create the New Brunswick Public Health Laboratory.

Steeves said the new lab will be able to process all lab specimens while conducting public health monitoring and investigations.

“New Brunswick has entered a period of growth, and this represents a challenge and an opportunity to build on the progress we have made,” Steeves said in a news release. “This five-year capital plan addresses inflationary pressures, recognizes labour and materials shortages, and invests in areas where demand is on the rise.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

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