Finance Minister Graham Steele revealed the tentative capital budget for 2011-12 on Thursday.

The plan includes $465.7-million in capital funding for government departments, as well as $94.3-million in capital grants.

It is the first time Nova Scotia has tabled a capital budget in advance of the spring budget. Steele said the practice allows contractors to have an idea as to what will be coming up for tender in the coming construction season — assuming all else is equal.

“It was sometimes problematic and always inefficient for uncertainty about the government’s capital intentions to extend to budget time and into the start of the building season, which is short enough as it is,” he said.

The plan includes $151-million less than the current year’s capital spending, partially due to the completion of federal stimulus spending. Despite the tightening of the federal tap, however, Steele still calls next year’s plan significant.

“Obviously it won’t have the same stimulative effect that a program of almost $8-million would have ... there just won’t be quite as many contracts on offer. But it’s still a significant capital program,” he said.

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