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Executive Council
Transportation and Works

February 18, 2009

Williams Government Makes Record $800 Million Investment in Infrastructure

In order to stimulate economic activity in the face of the global economic downturn, the Provincial Government today announced it will increase infrastructure spending to approximately $800 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year and in excess of $4 billion over the next several years. The $800 million the Provincial Government will spend on infrastructure in the 2009-10 fiscal year represents a jump of $285 million – well over 50 per cent – from the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works, made the announcement at a news conference today in St. John’s. Simultaneously, the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs and the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, made the announcement at Labrador City. They were joined by the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources; the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment; and, the Honourable Dianne Whalen, Minister of Municipal Affairs.

"Newfoundland and Labrador is not immune to the current world-wide recession but thanks to the sound fiscal foundation we have laid in the past five years, we are probably one of the best-positioned regions in North America to weather this financial downturn," said Premier Williams. "Infrastructure investment has been a priority for this government and that will continue. The aggressive infrastructure strategy we are announcing today includes multiple new projects and clearly demonstrates that our government is staying the course with our strategic infrastructure investments. At the same time, we are taking the necessary measures to stimulate the economy and create more jobs throughout the province. This is a level of infrastructure funding never seen before in the province’s history and helps further ensure our province is equipped to stand strong and forge ahead as masters of our own destiny."

The Provincial Government’s Infrastructure Strategy will include investments in the following sectors:

  • Transportation infrastructure (including repairs and maintenance) – $309,230,000
  • Educational facilities (including repairs and maintenance) – $155,745,000
  • Healthcare facilities and equipment (including repairs and maintenance) – $163,000,000
  • Municipal infrastructure – $103,219,000
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Housing infrastructure – $25,285,000
  • Justice infrastructure – $18,643,000
  • Additional economic stimulus will be provided by Nalcor Energy through its subsidiary Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro with an investment of $48 million in various projects, including $3.5 million for the Ramea Wind-Hydrogen-Diesel project; $3 million for the construction of an office and warehouse in Happy Valley-Goose Bay; $300,000 to begin a $10 million dollar construction project of two new terminal stations in Labrador City; $1.2 million to construct accommodations at Cat Arm; and $2.9 million to begin refurbishment of the fuel storage facility at Holyrood.

    The provincial investment over the next several years is also expected to leverage additional funding from other levels of government. It is anticipated the investment plan will create or sustain approximately 5,400 person years of employment this year.

    "This spending builds on the approximately $1.5 billion we have spent on our provincial infrastructure over the past five years," added Premier Williams. "We have confidence and optimism in our economy and our government will continue to invest strategically and wisely."

    The infrastructure strategy will bolster the impact of several major projects expected to provide economic stimulus, cushioning the province from the global economic downturn. The Provincial Government recently reached an improved development agreement with Vale Inco to ensure the timely start and completion of the nickel processing facility at Long Harbour. The successful conclusion of negotiations for the development of the White Rose expansion, as well as the tremendous potential for Hibernia South, will also provide a tremendous boost to the oil sector. In addition, the development of the Hebron oilfield, with a five per cent equity stake for the province and a super royalty regime, will provide further stimulus for economic growth with estimates of approximately 3,500 employees at the peak of construction.

    Minister Kennedy said the advice government has received from economists regarding the economic recession has been consistent.

    "They recommend spending on infrastructure projects that can begin immediately and result in job creation, thereby creating economic activity," said Minister Kennedy. "The priority our government has placed on infrastructure spending, along with the actions we've taken in the last number of years to reduce taxes and fees and pay down debt are additional ways we have worked to stimulate the economy. Tax and fee reductions in the last two budgets equal a two-year combined total of $342 million going back into the pockets of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and have brought our tax rates to the lowest in Atlantic Canada. These actions, combined with significant progress in repaying debt and lowering borrowing costs, have placed our province in a position of strength and have enabled us to invest significantly more infrastructure funds as part of the 2009-10 budget."

    Minister Taylor pointed out that this infrastructure strategy has significant benefits over the short and long term.

    "We will see tremendous benefits from our infrastructure strategy this year but we’re also looking beyond 2009," said Minister Taylor. "It is not prudent to do everything in one year and the construction industry would be overwhelmed if we took that approach. We will increase and accelerate infrastructure projects at a level that sustains and stimulates the economy over the long term, ensuring maximum benefits for industry and the economy year over year."

    Minister Taylor indicated Budget 2009 will include $130 million for repairs and maintenance to Provincial Government buildings. This is an increase of $30 million over fiscal year 2008-09. Approximately $80 million of that amount is going to schools and health care facilities alone.

    "This is the type of work that gets hammers in hands immediately and creates jobs right away," said Minister Taylor. "We want to boost employment as soon as possible."

    As part of the Williams Government’s approximate $800 million infrastructure investment in 2009-10, $103 million is targeted for municipal infrastructure. New projects will include all types of municipal infrastructure such as water and waste water treatment, roads and recreational facilities.

    The infrastructure package will have a positive impact on the entire province and provides significant funding for all sectors. One such region that will receive significant benefits is Labrador, where investments are expected to reach $130 million in fiscal year 2009-10 and in coming years are anticipated to exceed $350 million. This builds upon the direction set for Labrador over the course of the five-year Northern Strategic Plan, now entering its third year.

    "I want to make it clear that this revised infrastructure strategy forms one part of our government’s approach to economic stimulus within the current financial environment in which we find ourselves," said Minister Kennedy. "Other measures are under consideration as we finalize our upcoming budget. Despite projected deficits in the next couple of years, we know that stimulus is required and we continue to have an optimistic outlook for our provincial economy."

    Premier Williams says the province’s future is bright, despite the lack of support from the Federal Government.

    "We will not be deterred by the efforts of the Federal Conservative’s recent budget to suppress growth and prosperity in Newfoundland and Labrador, through unilateral cuts to previously signed agreements," added Premier Williams. "Ours is not a culture of defeat, but as masters of our own destiny we are continuing to shape and drive our economic plan to ensure success for the people of our province in these difficult economic times. We feel it is particularly right this year to have our own strategy to put Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to work and to find employment for workers who have been displaced here and in other provinces. Approximately 5,400 person years throughout the province should go a long way in accomplishing just that. We have worked hard over the past five years to develop a fiscal strategy of prosperity for our residents and this continued path and other recent initiatives will pave the way for a better future."

    Some examples of the new infrastructure initiatives in Budget 2009 include:


  • Planning for new school to replace Davis Elementary
  • Planning for new school to replace St. Teresa’s Elementary
  • Extension of cafeteria and new classrooms - Beachy Cove Elementary
  • New classrooms – Roncalli Elementary (St. John’s)
  • Extension for the addition of new classrooms - St. Bernard’s Primary
  • Extension for the addition of new classrooms and a challenging needs suite - St. Edwards School (Kelligrews)
  • Extension to replace portable classrooms and replacement of gymnasium – Virginia Park Elementary
  • Extension for additional classrooms - St. Peter’s Junior High
  • Extension for additional classrooms - Upper Gullies Elementary
  • Environment and Conservation

  • T’ Railway Bridge Upgrades/Condition Summary Report
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • Aquaculture infrastructure
  • Health and Community Services

  • Residential Treatment Centre – Youth addictions
  • Residential Treatment Centre – Youth with complex needs
  • Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre expansion
  • Health Sciences Complex parking garage
  • St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital – Emergency Department redevelopment
  • NL Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Human Genetics
  • Transportation and Works - Newfoundland Labrador Housing

  • Dunfield Park Community Centre – renovations
  • Dunfield Park revitalization project
  • - 30 -

    Media contacts:

    Elizabeth Matthews
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Premier
    Roger Scaplen
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Premier
    709-729-4304, 727-0991 

    David Salter
    Director of Communications
    Transportation and Works
    709-729-3015, 691-3577
    Tansy Mundon
    Director of Communications
    Department of Finance
    709-729-6830, 685-2646

    2009 02 18                                                      10:35 a.m.

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