Nova Scotia’s Liberal government has committed $691.3 million for hospitals, highways and schools in 2019-2020, its largest capital plan since it came to power in 2013.
The figure announced on March 6 is an $86-million increase over last year’s capital budget.
Road construction will be the largest category, at $300 million. Health-care projects will come second, including $156.9 million to redevelop the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax and design work for new health-care facilities in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Finance Minister Karen Casey said the government’s fiscal prudence has allowed it to spend in priority areas.
“We are able to manage our debt, we are able to manage our expenses,” Finance Minister. Casey said. “Recognizing that we are in a position where we have been able to maintain that balance, this gives us … an opportunity to do things like this and make these investments.”
While no new schools are planned, $63.1 million will be allocated for continuing work on 11 projects, a decline from the $102 million spent last year.
However, government officials said schools spending is part of a five-year plan announced last year and more projects are expected in future years. Ms. Casey said that would allow spending to approach levels reached in previous years.
The plan also includes a contingency fund of $48-million and includes money for projects that have not yet been announced.
“The contingency plan is always unallocated, but it is there in case there is a project that needs additional dollars,” Casey said.