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Building towards a debt-free Alberta: Wildrose unveils 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan

EDMONTON, AB (February 13, 2013): Today, the Wildrose Official Opposition released their 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan, a prudent and responsible capital spending plan that invests in new schools, roads and hospitals with sustainable and prioritized spending without having to take on debt. 

The Wildrose 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan calls for $48 billion in capital spending over the next ten years through a transparent and open priority-setting process.  Over ten years, that money will be allocated as follows:

  • $21.6 billion to municipalities (through Wildrose 10/10 plan);
  • $10.8 billion for the provincial highway network (Highway 63, ring roads);
  • $7.6 billion for health facilities and new equipment;
  • $3.8 billion for schools (approx. 100 new schools and 60 major modernizations); and
  • $4.2 billion for other public facilities

“The Wildrose plan follows three clear principles: Sustainability, Prioritization and Innovation that will be able to meet Alberta’s infrastructure needs without going into debt to do so,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said.  “Our plan invests in Alberta’s priorities without putting our finances at risk and puts forward new and innovative ideas that put Albertans first.” Alberta currently spends roughly 50% more per person ($1,780) on infrastructure compared to spending levels across Western Canada and Ontario ($700-$1,100 per person) who all face similar growth pressures as Alberta to varying degrees.  The 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan matches the average spending of these major provinces and adds an additional 15% premium to reflect Alberta’s special circumstances for a total of $4.042 billion for the 2013-14 budget. “The PC government’s capital spending has been out of control, is not focused, is shrouded in secrecy and is now dragging our province back into debt after completely draining our Sustainability Fund,” Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said.  “During a time of financial uncertainty, the Wildrose 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan presents reasonable measures to invest in infrastructure, doesn’t mortgage our children’s future and gets the most out of every dollar.” The Wildrose plan also takes politics out of infrastructure spending by committing to publish an infrastructure priority list that allows municipalities and communities to plan ahead.  Further, the Wildrose proposal includes money saving initiatives like stabilizing annual capital spending, ensuring that building announcements aren’t made until project planning is well advanced and allows developers to build schools as a feature of their new neighbourhoods. Wildrose Infrastructure and Transportation Critic Drew Barnes said that by prioritizing spending and implementing these new and innovative ideas to decrease inflationary costs, Alberta can build what is needed without having to go into debt. “Picking up debt to invest in a depreciating asset is poor budget planning that asks future generations of Albertans to pay for fiscal mismanagement,” Barnes said.  “Our ideas are smart, sustainable and save money by being open to new partnerships and adopting new and innovative ideas.”