A week after announcing a $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan to stimulate Saskatchewan’s hard-hit economy post COVID-19, Premier Scott Moe has launched a $300 million stimulus package May 13 focusing on upgrading highways and airports in the province.
The $300 million in stimulus funds will be invested over the next two years and will include highway surface upgrades and improvements to municipal roads and airports.
“This stimulus package will provide an economic boost creating jobs and building priority infrastructure projects which will serve the citizens of the province for decades to come,” said Highways and Infrastructure Minister Greg Ottenbreit
Projects that will be part of the stimulus plan include upgrades to 325 kilometres of surface highways, rehabilitation of at least 100 rural roads and improvements to community airports. New passing lanes on Highways 39 and 6 from Regina to the U.S. border are included.
Saskatchewan’s jobless rate soared to 11.3 per cent in April, compared to 4.9 per cent a year earlier, as the province battled a crash in oil prices and a pandemic that shut down everything from oil drill rigs to restaurants.
“We employ close to 30,000 workers, making our industry one of the largest employers in the province. We welcome any move toward growing these job numbers to get our economy on track,” said Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association president Shantel Lipp.
Lipp added that Saskatchewan road builders generate more than $5 billion in provincial GDP out of an economy of $73 billion or roughly 7 per cent of the total provincial economy.
According to Moe, this year’s fiscal plan includes improvements to more than 1,000 kilometres of provincial highways.
In earlier May, Moe announced details of a two-year capital plan that will pump an extra $2 billion into the province for capital plans. That’s on top of the $5.5 billion the province was already planning to put toward capital projects in the spending estimates tabled with the provincial budget in March.