Québec's Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, today tabled the province's 2010-2011 Budget. Among the budget's 5 stated objectives, it proposes a set of measures to "Build the Québec of the Next 20 years". On that note, and of particular interest to those in the infrastructure world, were the following announcements:
The government is continuing to invest in infrastructure. The 2009-2014 Québec Infrastructures Plan represents investments totalling $42.6 billion. Of this amount, $28.5 billion is to be applied to maintain and renovate the province's health institutions, schools and road network, while the remaining $14.1 billion is slated for new infrastructure in the health, education and transportation sectors.
Minister Bachand noted: "The Québec Infrastructure Plan has generated substantial economic benefits in all regions. It has been one of the cornerstones of economic recovery [...] our investments in infrastructure and the energy sector have enabled us to create and support 100,000 jobs a year,"
Bachand went on to explain that in 2009, the government had injected $6.8 billion in the economy pursuant to its Recovery Plan. "We are now deploying the second part of the plan and will commit $8.2 billion in 2010. We are also continuing the investments stipulated in the Québec Infrastructures Plan, which will reach $9.1 billion in 2010-2011,"
On the theme of "Building the Québec of the Next 20 Years" the minister made reference to the province's economy having to become more productive and more competitive, as well as to the pursuit of its "green shift".
Announcements specific to the Greater Montreal Area were the extension of the government's support for the Imagining-Building Montréal 2025 development strategy until 2017 through funding of $175 million and investments of $200 million for the creation of an express rail link between the airport and downtown Montréal.
As for tax increases related to infrastructure, the minister announced sustainable funding for the Road and Public Transit Infrastructure Fund through an increase in the fuel tax. As such, the metropolitan communities of Montréal and Québec City will be entitled to raise the tax on gasoline by 1.5 cents per litre on their territory in order to invest in their respective public transit systems.