The B.C. budget for this year includes planning funds for replacing the George Massey Tunnel under the Fraser River.

B.C. budget: Operating debt begins to decline

Operating debt to decline, capital debt keeps growing as hospitals, schools, road and transit projects continue

After five years of borrowing to pay for “groceries,” Finance Minister Mike de Jong says budget surpluses this year and in the coming years will largely be used to pay down operating debt.

The provincial budget shows operating debt of $9.4 billion for the year ending in March, declining to $8.4 billion in 2015-16 and falling below $5 billion by 2018.

Total provincial debt, including roads, hospitals and other capital projects as well as debt held by BC Hydro and other Crown corporations, grows to more than $70 billion by the end of the province’s three-year fiscal plan.

De Jong said balancing the budget means the province is only borrowing to build assets, and the current spending plan calls for $10.7 billion more in taxpayer-supported debt. One new project is planning funds for the proposed replacement of the George Massey tunnel under the Fraser River, a bottleneck for vehicle and shipping traffic.

Other projects:

• Post-secondary facilities include replacement of trade buildings at Okanagan College in Kelowna and Camosun College in Victoria, a trades facility at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt and relocation of Vancouver Community College and BCIT heavy duty and commercial transportation programs in New Westminster

• New high schools including Centennial Secondary in Coquitlam, Oak Bay Secondary in Oak Bay, Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo, Clayton North Secondary in Surrey and Kitsilano Secondary in Vancouver.

• Transportation projects including Evergreen rapid transit line to Coquitlam, improvements to Highway 97 in the Cariboo and the Mountain Highway interchange in North Vancouver

• Health care projects including North Island Hospitals in Comox and Campbell River, Interior Heart and Surgery Centre in Kelowna and clinical support and acute care centres at Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Vancouver


Just Posted

Good things come in small, strong, fast packages

Sierra Gillis hopes to represent Canada one day in fastball or rugby

New UVic study to track decline of insects in Metchosin

Traps will be set to catch and weigh flying insects

Jazz songstress Ellen Doty brings her sweet sound to Hermann’s Jazz Club

March 27 concert in Victoria part of national CD release tour

Victoria says #NeverAgain in solidarity with March For Our Lives

Youth Political Commons invites public to rally against gun violence March 24 at legislature

Paralympic dream for rider with cerebral palsy

Kim Scott’s goal is to represent Canada and won’t let anything, including cerebral palsy, get in her way

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Harsher fines, new off-road vehicle rules in effect to combat B.C. wildfires

Anyone who starts a wildfire could be ordered to pay up to $1,000,000

Muddy water found in taps at B.C. hospital prompts investigation

Northern Health to hire consultant to examine three facilities for potential contamination

RCMP officer charged after pedestrian struck at crosswalk

A man suffered a broken leg and head lacerations after being struck by the police vehicle in 2017

It’s complicated: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps breaks up with Facebook

“I’m quitting Facebook so I stop contributing in any way to this cycle of psychological violence where fear and anger get more air time than joy”

B.C. gives tax breaks to jumpstart LNG in northwest

LNG income tax scrapped, break on sales tax for producers

Rupert the therapy bunny sidelined due to deadly virus outbreak

Chilliwack’s famous therapy rabbit quarantined for his own safety, people not at risk

UPDATE: both lanes open Hwy. 19 south after multi-vehicle accident

A car fire has since been extinguished at the Hillview Rd. crash site Thursday morning

Most Read