N.S. tables largest single-year capital plan at just over $1 billion

Nova Scotia’s Liberal government has announced the largest single-year capital plan in the province’s history at just over $1 billion for 2020-21.

The $1.042-billion figure is a 51 per cent year-over-year increase in capital spending, which saw $691.3-million allocated in 2019-20.

Finance Minister Karen Casey says with the government preparing to table its fifth consecutive balanced budget next Tuesday, the time is right to increase spending in areas of need.

The capital plan includes $385.3 million for road and highway projects as well as $265.6 million to build, renovate and purchase schools, along with $154 million to support the ongoing development of new hospital projects in Halifax and Sydney.

A large chunk of the school spending will go towards the purchase of 30 schools previously built through public-private partnerships, while the rest will go to the design and construction of 16 schools – the bulk of which have been previously announced.

Casey says the increased spending will “add significantly” to the province’s $15.1-billion net debt, but she says it’s a good short-term investment that should reap benefits over the long term.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2020.

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