Massive 20-year capital plan released as election call looms
Ed Stelmach has unveiled a 20-year, $120-billion capital plan for Alberta that promises everything from new schools and hospitals to securing land for a bullet train between Edmonton and Calgary and paves the way for a looming election.
It took nearly a year to compile the capital plan, which the Alberta premier calls a document with a "strong urban agenda," giving broad directions for sustained economic growth.
But Liberal critic Rick Miller called the provincial blueprint a big disappointment with so many "pie in the sky" promises right before an expected election that Albertans shouldn’t believe it.
"I think the premier and his ministers have promised everything short of a baby unicorn for every household," he said. "It’s a plan that’s incredibly short on specifics."
Under the new capital plan, released yesterday, two more lanes will be added to the Queen Elizabeth 2 Highway as part of an annual $6-billion investment in infrastructure.
About $300 million will also be spent on 600 long-term care beds in health facilities across the province while millions will be earmarked for deferred maintenance projects at universities and hospitals.
"It shows we can build responsibly. It shows that we can put ourselves ahead of the growth curve," Stelmach said. "We don’t ever want to be in a position of playing catch-up again."
The blueprint assumes that Alberta’s economy will be "robust" over the next 20 years, attracting a growing population until the province reaches 5 million people by 2028.
There will also be a renewed focus on public transit with plans developed to support high-speed transportation links between all major urban centres.
The plan, however, avoids specific details, estimated costs, and general timelines for such a project.