The province says it will increase total infrastructure spending this year by $367 million. Critics claim it's only an $80-million increase. Who's telling the truth?
Total infrastructure spending in 2013-14 is budgeted to top out at $1.799 billion. If you compare that number to the most recent information available on what the province spent last year, $1.432 billion, this year's target is $367 million higher. The $1.799 billion is the most spent by a provincial government in Manitoba, and a 25.5 per cent bump and the largest year-over-year increase in the province's history.
Why did others claim infrastructure spending was only going up by $80 million?
Government critics did not use the third-quarter update for their calculation. Instead, they compared the 2013-14 budget figure with the figure that was in the 2012-13 budget, which was $1.719 billion.
Why did total infrastructure spending go down in 2012-13?
Last year, several hundred million dollars in projects were deferred. This included the Highway 23 bridge over the Red River at Morris, a bridge over the Assiniboine Diversion, PR 280 to Gillam, PR 373 to Norway House, and improvements to Highway 16 east of Foxwarren. A provincial spokesman indicated there were also changes to the tendering process that led to other work being delayed. This lowered the 2012-13 budget line by $287 million.