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

Hope mothers work together to improve access, connections for autistic children

Families with autistic children in rural areas have difficulty accessing resources, each other

UPDATE: Man with gunshot wound drives into ditch on Chilliwack River Road

Serious crimes investigators believe early morning shooting to be targeted

WATCH: Rally at MP’s office Friday in Chilliwack to stop KM pipeline

Water samples from Chilliwack rivers were delivered to MP Strahl’s office in a symbolic gesture

Editor’s view: A Hopeful start to the community’s first 10 km run

Good mix of pomp and circumstance, variable terrain and silliness at Sunday’s run

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

B.C. officials failed to tell Kiwis Fraser Health CEO had been fired in 2014

New Zealand spending scandal exposes Dr. Nigel Murray 2014 exit from B.C. job

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Most Read