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P.E.I. announces biggest-ever capital budget

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Prince Edward Island unveiled its capital budget Tuesday, $1.3 billion over five years, with the biggest expenditures in transportation, housing, and health.

The province has once again tabled the biggest-ever capital budget in its history; there is 15 per cent higher spending than reported last year.

The 2024-2025 budget comes in at $368.8 million.

Finance Minister Jill Burridge said the spending will target the province’s biggest problem areas they’ve heard serious concerns from Islanders.

“We’ve been told, quite clearly, that these are the investment they want to see,” said Burridge. “They want to see it in health care, they want to see it in housing.”

The biggest items:

  • $85 million for transportation and infrastructure, mainly for roads and bridges;
  • $70 million for the PEI Housing Corporation, promising 560 social housing units within the next five years;
  • a combined $123 million for Health PEI and the Department of Health and Wellness, for health care facilities including construction on the mental health campus, hospital and primary care facilitates, and teaching spaces for residents and staff expected to come with the new medial school.

The Opposition Liberals say it doesn’t address the real issues.

“Not impressed, I mean we are experiencing incredible challenges here on Prince Edward Island and it looks like this government has run out of new ideas,” said Liberal Leader Hal Perry.

The P.E.I. Greens say the budget has increased, but not enough in the right places: Health care, housing, and affordability.

“If our roads are not taking people to stores where they can actually buy the things they need and afford to do that,” said Green Finance Critic Peter Bevan-Baker. “If our roads are not taking people to mental health services that they desperately need, then we’re building roads to nowhere.”

P.E.I. Finance Minister Jill Burridge delivers a budget address. (Jack Morse/CTV Atlantic)

The budget has more than doubled since Dennis King’s Tories took over, but Burridge said they aren’t looking at a tax increase. They’re instead looking at more debt, she said, with room in the debt-to-GDP ratio.

“Making sure that we stay under that 30 per cent target was always our target,” said Burridge. “That’s where we started, and that’s what we know if affordable, and something that we can absorb.”

The budget will be debated in the legislature over the coming weeks.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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