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Unprecendented investments for the maintenance and upgrading of our public infrastructures

Quebec City, March 13, 2008 – In 2008-2009 the investments planned under the Québec Infrastructures Plan and for completion of ongoing projects total an unprecedented $7,740.4 million. “We are continuing to implement the Québec Infrastructures Plan, which we announced in the autumn of 2007, calling for a $30-billion investment over five years. This plan will contribute to sustaining economic activity,” said Monique Jérôme-Forget, Minister of Finance, Minister of Government Services, Minister responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du Trésor, as she tabled the 2008-2009 Expenditure Budget.

Unprecedented and Well-Timed Public Investments

The investments forecasted under the Québec Infrastructures Plan, the reduction in income taxes by $950 million for Québec families as of January 1, 2008 and the $265-million investment incentive announced today will together support the economy, which will grow by 1.5% in 2008-2009. “These actions are well timed,” the Minister concluded.

Maintenance of Assets a Priority

The Québec Infrastructures Plan lays the groundwork for ensuring the long-term durability of public infrastructures, so that future generations may benefit from quality infrastructures, also fostering economic competitiveness and ensuring a quality lifestyle for our citizens.

Almost 80% of the budget earmarked for the Québec Infrastructures Plan, $23.8 billion, will go to maintaining and upgrading public infrastructures; this in turn will help us eliminate accumulated maintenance deficits of previous years. The rest of the funds will be allocated to the improvement and replacement of infrastructures.

“Our hospitals will be more functional and use cutting-edge technology, our roads will be as good as those of our neighbours, our sewer and water networks will support more development and our schools will be more welcoming and will encourage academic achievement,” the Minister added.

Quadrupling Investments for Asset Maintenance in 2008-2009

In 2008-2009, investments of $4.9 billion under the plan will go to maintaining assets and eliminating accumulated maintenance deficits. This level of investment is close to four times greater than the average investment level of $1.3 billion during the 1997-1998 to 2002-2003 period. “This level of investment is unprecedented, and is a major turning point in the management of collective infrastructures that will enable us to maintain and upgrade them in an appropriate, responsible and sustainable manner and correct the errors of the past,” said the Minister.

An Enhanced Collective Heritage for Future Generations

On December 18, 2007 the government enacted the Act to promote the maintenance and renewal of public infrastructures, which calls for the elimination, over 15 years, of infrastructure maintenance deficits resulting from past negligence. It includes a requirement to table in the National Assembly a multi-year investment budget plan every year, as well as a report on the use of these allocations and best management practices.

“Establishing a legal framework for permanent maintenance and future development of our collective facilities enables us to break with past practices and act responsibly to leave future generations a quality collective legacy. This is a question of fairness to our children and our grandchildren,” the Minister said.

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