Premier Christy surprises UBCM with big money announcement
Premier Christy Clark has detailed her plans to keep British Columbia growing and provide support for local communities – including more than $200 million in capital projects across the province, the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border and starting the process to replace the George Massey Tunnel.
“We are taking some very important steps to drive the BC Jobs Plan forward,” Premier Clark told delegates to the annual meeting of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
“By planning to replace the George Massey Tunnel and maintaining our commitment to complete four-laning of the Trans-Canada, we are supporting the communities that depend on them and growing our economy.”
“Our goal is to see the entire Trans-Canada Highway four-laned from Kamloops to Alberta,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak.
“We’ll be working with our federal government to seek matching funds to improve this corridor, which connects our Pacific Gateway with the rest of Canada. And we’ve heard the concerns from the communities south of the Fraser River about congestion through the Massey tunnel. My ministry will engage these local governments in the initial discussions on what a replacement might look like.”
Premier Clark also announced $207 million in new capital investments for transportation, housing, education and health facility projects to improve services in communities across the province including:
- Expanding the 16th Avenue interchange in Surrey; and,
- Improving K-12 public schools across B.C., including the communities of Nanaimo, Campbell River, Houston, Surrey, Richmond, Mission, Maple Ridge and West Vancouver.
“These are new projects that we can get started this year but this capital investment is not new money. It is money we have saved from pinching our pennies. I am very proud of that,” added Premier Clark.
B.C.’s capital plan is on track and is being managed to stay in line with government’s annual debt/GDP targets and maintain B.C.’s strong triple-A credit rating to keep debt affordable.
The taxpayer-supported capital spending will be $10.5 billion over the next three years, as per the recently released Q1 Report. Since 2001/02, government has invested more than $44 billion in capital spending on infrastructure.
“Prudent fiscal management has allowed us to bring forward and add necessary projects in our capital plan, while keeping our debt-to-GDP ratio on track and affordable, protecting our triple-A credit rating,” said Michael de Jong, Minister of Finance.
“These represent affordable investments in projects that touch B.C. families – our schools, hospitals, social housing and roads.”
“Moving ahead on a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel is good news for families and businesses in our community,” said Acting Mayor of Delta Scott Hamilton.
“Reducing congestion and improving transportation connections will help enhance the quality of life Delta residents enjoy, and we look forward to being a key contributor as consultations on this much-needed improvement move forward.”
“We wholeheartedly support the government’s efforts to continue these much-needed improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway and we look forward to working with the Province as projects are prioritized and as work moves forward to improve safety for local families and all highway users,” said Revelstoke Mayor David Raven.