Government of New Brunswick

Hon. Claude Williams
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
December 2012

Ministerial Statement

Mr. Chairman, as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, I am pleased to deliver my third capital budget in this House today. It is a budget which reflects the fiscal challenges we are currently facing in our province, while also making important strategic investments in buildings, bridges, highways and rural roads around New Brunswick.

Before proceeding with the details, I would like to thank my wife, Bernice, and my family for their ongoing support as well as the people of Kent-South who continue to place their confidence in me and have granted me the honour of representing them in this Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Chairman, a safe and efficient transportation system contributes to the economic and social progress of New Brunswick. That is why our government is investing in infrastructure which will help to build a stronger province and enhance quality of life.  We are working to rebuild New Brunswick, while also living within our means.

At my department, we remain confident that our multi-year capital spending plan will see us through these challenging fiscal times, while also creating opportunities for the construction industry.

In the past year, we celebrated the official opening of the Route 1 Gateway, a $540 million highway which was completed nearly one year ahead of schedule in partnership with Dexter Development Partnership Ltd. By working cooperatively with the private sector partner, we were able to revise the overall project to achieve additional savings totaling over $38 million. These savings are significant and are a sign of a government that is exercising due diligence.

The next major highway project in New Brunswick will be the twinning of Route 11 between Shediac and Miramichi. We have been in discussions with Ottawa on sharing the cost and we are optimistic an agreement can be reached. We have purchased most of the land needed for the project and we are working on planning for a complete four-lane highway. 

We anticipate the twinning of Route 11 will be completed in phases.  Our plan is to twin the most heavily-travelled sections of Route 11 first and the rest in phases as funding becomes available. This is a fiscally responsible approach.

Mr. Chairman, the road building industry in New Brunswick has been vocal about wanting more capital investment and more work in our province. We have heard these concerns, however, we must also deal with the financial resources we have available in these fiscal times. Through responsible fiscal management, we are laying a new foundation to rebuild New Brunswick which will ultimately mean better days and better roads ahead.

Therefore, I am reporting this year’s capital budget for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure totals $279.6 million and includes:

  • $42 million for permanent bridges;
  • $108 million for permanent highways;
  • $44 million for rural roads;
  • $61 million for the National Highway Program;
  • $15 million for public works and infrastructure; and
  • $10 million for the Vehicle Management Agency.

Within this funding, several major highway projects will be completed or undertaken including:

  • Route 11 from Shediac to Miramichi: $1 million for planning;
  • Welsford Bypass on Route 7: $12.9 million.
  • Route 8 Nashwaak/Marysville Bypass: $9.6 million.
  • Route 11 Caraquet bypass: $12 million.
  • Route 2 twinning at the Quebec/NB border,$10 million
  • One Mile House Interchange, $7.3 million.
  • Saint John Harbour Bridge rehabilitation,$10.3 million.
  • Route 17 upgrading in the Black Brook Area in Victoria County, $2 million.
  • Improvements to the Route 2 Interchange and Elmwood Drive in Moncton, $2.5 million.
  • $8.8 million for provincially-designated highways in municipalities around the province.
  • Over $5 million in the next two years for rural roads on Campobello Island.

We will also be continuing with several major bridge projects in the 2013 construction season including:

  • Construction of the international bridge at Clair-Fort Kent, $1.7 million.
  • Upgrading the Hugh John Flemming Bridge near Hartland, $4.2 million.
  • Rehabilitating the Centennial Bridge at Miramichi,
  • $3 million Replacement of the Middle River Bridge in Bathurst, $350,000.

We will also begin design work for the replacement of the Saint Louis-de-Kent Bridge in Kent County.

The federal government is a leading partner in many cost-sharing projects. In 2013-2014, the federal government will contribute $14.7 million to the various highway infrastructure programs in New Brunswick.

This investment is significant in developing our transportation network and reflects the spirit of cooperation between Ottawa and our province when it comes to negotiating cost-sharing agreements.

Mr. Chairman, our department is also responsible for public works and infrastructure. From within our capital budget, investments for this sector will include:

  •  $5 million in capital improvements for our various government buildings;
  • $1.5 million for the department’s energy retrofit program to upgrade mechanical and electrical systems, reduce energy costs, and assist with deferred maintenance in our provincial buildings;
  • $3.3 million to continue with the Petitcodiac River restoration;
  • $3 million for capital administration;
  • $1.5 million to finish the new office complex at Chancery Place.

Mr. Chairman, these estimates provide a broad outline of our capital budget commitments for 2013-2014. I look forward to the coming year and the development of better roads and public infrastructure for the benefit, safety and well being of New Brunswickers.

Before ending my remarks, I would like to thank my staff for their dedication and hard work in transportation and in the stewardship of our provincial buildings.

I am pleased to report our newly aligned department is functioning very well. We have combined our expertise to meet the challenges facing government, while also providing quality services to the people. Together, we are working to rebuild New Brunswick with New Brunswickers.

I would now welcome questions on our capital estimates.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.