POLITICS

New Brunswick unveils capital budget, includes hospital for Perth-Andover

12/11/2012 03:16 EST | Updated 02/10/2013 05:12 EST
FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government says Perth-Andover will get a new community hospital as part of the province's $466-million capital budget.

The government said Tuesday it plans to spend more than $53 million on maintaining and improving health care infrastructure in 2013-14, which includes funding for the facility.

The lower level of Perth-Andover's Hotel-Dieu Saint Joseph Hospital was flooded in March after ice jams caused the St. John River to spill its banks.

The government said $3.5 million will be spent to start new projects, down from $24 million in 2012-13.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs said the province is not in a financial position to fund new projects and will focus on maintaining existing assets.

"Our government's priorities are maintaining existing assets today to avoid greater costs down the road while completing the projects currently underway in the most timely, cost-effective manner possible," said Higgs in a statement.

Higgs said last month that this year's deficit is now expected to grow to $356 million — up $173 million from the forecast in March.

A large portion of the capital budget was allocated to the Transportation Department, with $279.6 million set aside for maintenance, repair and strategic investments, the government said.

The budget also includes $120.8 million for infrastructure in public schools, including $20.7 million for health and safety improvements and $7 million for infrastructure in universities and community colleges, it said.