By Nikki Jamieson
While the NDP may have gone over the top in terms of spending, Reeve Brian Brewin of the Municipal District of Taber is glad to see funding restored to a few programs.
“I was really interested to see how the NDP was going to go. Being a new party and a new budget, it was anybody’s bet I guess,” said Brewin.
Bridge and road funding have been given a shot of $4.6 billion over the course of the next five years, with $2.2 billion earmarked specifically for bridge construction and pavement rehabilitations.
“Bridge funding has been zero funded for the last two years,” said Brewin. “But they brought back the bridge funding for this year, so that would help us a lot, and get a lot of these backlogged bridges repaired and safe to drive on.”
The budget also provides $100 million of funding for the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program – which has been unfunded for three years – that helps fund projects such as paving resource roads, or roads that lead up to businesses.
Brewin was glad to see the Municipal Sustainability Initiative’s funding had remained the same at $30 million.
Since the program was launched in 2007, $6.7 billion have been allotted to communities across Alberta.
“Moving forward, it’s nice to know where we stand, and able to budget, moving forward, as to projects that are coming up.”
On the other hand, while many programs needed a good injection to their budget, Brewin is wary that the provincial government may have spent too much money they don’t have.
With a $5 billion deficit being posted next year, he worries where that money will come from.
“It scares me that we’re spending our child’s money,” said Brewin. “Somebody is going to have to pay for this in the future.”
To the NDP’s credit though, he notes, they are delivering exactly what they had promised.
“It’s a budget with high spending. But that’s what they promised, so that’s what they did.”