Government of New Brunswick

Hon. Bill Oliver
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
May 2019

Ministerial Statement

Thank you, Mister/Madam Chair.

As Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure it gives me great pleasure to be here this morning/afternoon/evening, along with a number of the department’s staff and senior leaders.

Mr. Chair, our government believes in and values our public servants.

These people come to work everyday with one thing in mind; how do we make things better for New Brunswickers.

Our province is facing many challenges and our public servants continue to face adversity on a day to day basis, and it is through their hard work and dedication that government is able to find improvements and efficiencies that can be used to the benefit of our residents.

The knowledge and expertise of government employees cannot be overstated, and I’m proud to stand alongside my staff today.

At this point I would like to introduce this team of experts from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

To my right is Deputy Minister Kelly Cain.

Also here with me are;

  • Tony Desjardins, Assistant Deputy of Transportation;
  • Bob Martin, Assistant Deputy of Buildings;
  • Mark Gaudet, Assistant Deputy Minister of Strategic Services;
  • Serge Gagnon, Executive Director of Engineering Services;
  • Gary Lynch; Executive Director of Facilities Management;
  • Charlotte Valley, Director of Finance and Administrative Services;
  • Jules Michaud, Executive Director of Operations;
  • Shannon Sanford, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs; and
  • Brittany Cain, Legislative Coordinator

I would like to thank my team for being here today to help me during the Main Estimates process.

Mister/Madam Chair, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure has a broad mandate which includes the design, construction, and maintenance of roads, bridges, ferries and government buildings.

It is also responsible for the procurement and maintenance of government vehicles, heavy equipment and buses; the acquisition and divesture of properties; and the oversight of short line rail and the province’s trunked mobile radio communication system.

Before we begin to field questions from the opposition members I would like to take a couple of minutes to provide a quick overview of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s 2019-2020 budget.

The Department of Transportation’s total budget for 2019-2020 is approximately $890-million, the fourth largest budget of all departments in the provincial government.

Funding for my department’s ordinary budget is $312-million and includes the following program items;

  • $70.9-million for maintenance; this includes our summer maintenance program, bridge maintenance, traffic engineering and ferry operations;
  • $68.7-million for Winter maintenance which includes snow removal and ice control for provincial roads and highways; and
  • $132.4-million for buildings which includes facilities management and oversight of $62.1M and grant-in-lieu of taxes of $70.3.

Our Capital Budget for 2019-2020 is over $493-million and includes;

  • $212.6-million for bridges and highways;
  • $52.5-million for Federal-Provincial projects;
  • $10-million for the Municipal Designated Highway Program;
  • $14M for vehicles and equipment and
  • $204.3-million for public works and infrastructure including $32.1M for DTI and $172.2M for other department’s capital construction projects such as schools and hospitals.

Our government has set a multi-year capital spending plan that will place the focus of our taxpayers’ dollars on maintaining and improving existing infrastructure.

We believe that there is value in our current infrastructure.

That’s why government has taken a more responsible approach to new, expensive projects.

By focusing on our current infrastructure, before tackling new projects, the Department of Transportation will be able to manage our existing assets in a more sustainable way.

The asset management program is something our government strongly believes in.

Using asset management practices helps to identify projects that are needs and not wants, while also helping to take the politics out of spending.

With that said, I’m pleased to remind the other members here today of the projects that my Department will be working on over the next year.

  • Twinning of Route 11;
  • upgrading and rehabilitation work will continue on the Centennial Bridge in Miramichi;
  • New construction on a replacement for Anderson Bridge, a key road network link along Route 8 will continue;
  • Construction of the Petitcodiac Bridge will continue;
  • Construction of the Fundy Trail Connector will continue;
  • Site preparation for the replacement of the Coles Island bridges will begin; and
  • Further rehabilitation work on the Florenceville Bridge.

The capital projects I have mentioned are a small number of the overall activities planned by my department and at this time we’d be happy to take questions from the members here today.

Thank you.