EDMONTON, Alta. — The Province of Alberta has struck gold – or oil, at least – and it’s planning to spend much of its unexpected new windfall on highways.
The province has announced it will realize an unexpected budget surplus of $1.8 billion this year thanks to strong performances in the oil and gas sector and an overall strong provincial economy. As a result, the province is endorsing a new spending strategy for the upcoming year, which will see more money spent on roads.
“Every dollar of this surplus will be dedicated to priority areas for Albertans,” says Premier Ralph Klein. “Albertans need new infrastructure to accommodate the dramatic growth the province is experiencing.”
In fact, about half of the surplus – $910 million – will be spent on capital works and infrastructure needs.
The good news comes on the heels of an acknowledgement by the province that it’s $7 billion behind in infrastructure spending. While it’s been confirmed the province’s roadways will receive a substantial amount of the surplus, government officials were tight-lipped about which projects would receive priority. That will become clearer after the provincial budget is released in about a month.
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