Reactions to the province's 2024 budget have been pouring in from politicians on both sides of the legislative aisle.

While Thursday's announcement did not offer many details about how Airdrie will benefit from the allocation of provincial monies, the coming days may offer more specifics.

Later today, Premier Danielle Smith, Minister of Education Demetrios Nicolaides and Minister of Infrastructure Pete Guthrie - who is also the Airdrie-Cochrane Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), will be holding a press conference about the school projects in Budget 2024.

On Thursday, it was announced that $1.9 billion in capital funding over the next three years will be given for planning, design or construction of new and modernized school projects across the province. This includes $681 million in new funding for 43 priority school projects that will create 35,000 new and modernized student spaces.

"A total of 98 school projects are in various stages of the planning, design and construction process in 2024."

Airdrie-East Member MLA, Angela Pitt said that she was pleased with what the government delivered.

"Budget 2024 is balancing the needs and wants of today and then taking into consideration the needs and the wants of our future."

Though she could not divulge details, Pitt said she continues to be hopeful that in the coming days, there will be more good news for Airdrie's residents.

"I know that they've [government and ministers have] heard loud and clear and that Airdrie is the fastest growing community in all of Canada and all of Alberta and has been for quite some time. They understand our needs and they're doing their best to meet them. Stay tuned because there are some very exciting announcements coming in the near future."

Pitt added that she will be hosting an open house for residents so she can gather feedback on the provincial budget in the coming week. More details will be announced later on. 

However, Alberta's official opposition was quick to level criticism at the government. Rachel Notley, Alberta NDP Leader, classified the budget as a 'litany of broken promises'.

"The budget contains no plan to build the public hospitals to meet the needs of Albertans, including the South Edmonton hospital, the Airdrie Health Centre or the Cardiac Care Centre in Lethbridge," Notley added.

Airdrie is specifically mentioned in the 2023-2024 Capital Plan twice. Budget documents show the planning for North Calgary / Airdrie Regional Health Centre as well as the QEII and 40th Avenue Interim Ramp near Airdrie are two Airdrie-centric projects enumerated in the budget.

No funds to the North Calgary / Airdrie Regional Health Centre will be released until 2025-2026 and onwards. A total of $3 million over three years was expected for this project; however, this project was budgeted for 2023-2024, with $1 million forecast in the previous budget. The remainder of the funds will be seen in the 2026-2027 budget.

The QEII and 40th Avenue Interim Ramp near Airdrie will see $4 million in funding in 2024-2025. In the 2023-2024 Capital plan, the project was budgeted for $11 million in funding; $9 million was forecast for 2023-2024. 

Major highlights from the healthcare portfolio include:

  • $35 million, an increase of $25 million in Budget 2024, for the EMS Vehicles Capital Program to purchase new EMS vehicles and ambulances, upgrade the existing fleet, and acquire additional equipment.
  • $475 million to support the continued implementation of the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System:
    •  $200 million over two years to improve access to family physicians
    •  $10 million for primary healthcare initiatives in Indigenous communities
    •  $15 million to further develop a compensation model for nurse practitioners
  • $300 million for Primary Care Networks to provide additional support for collaborative primary healthcare services
  • $140 million per year over three years for the yet-to-be-signed Federal Bi-Lateral Aging with Dignity Agreement, which includes $70 million for long-term care initiatives and $70 million for home and community care initiatives
  • $1 billion over three years to transform the continuing care system in response to the Facility-Based Continuing Care Review.

The budget also stipulated that in 2024, there will be $716 million more allocated than in last year's budget for municipalities.

"2024-25 marks the first year of the new fiscal arrangement between the province and Alberta’s municipalities. The Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) replaces the Municipal Sustainability Initiative. Budget 2024 provides $2.4 billion over three three years in LGFF funding to help fund local infrastructure priorities."

Another major funding project is $539 million over three years to expand and enhance municipal water and wastewater infrastructure.

"Under the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program, $111 million over three years is allocated to improve accessibility and the movement of goods and people."

The 2024 Capital Plan will also be increasing funding for capital maintenance and renewal (CMR) to protect existing public infrastructure assets. Over the next three years, the Capital Plan allocates $3.7 billion for CMR. This includes:

  • $1.7 billion for roads and bridges.
  •  $512 million for health facilities.
  •  $420 million for post-secondary facilities.
  •  $390 million for government facilities and information technology infrastructure.
  •  $381 million for schools.
  •  $184 million primarily for environment and provincial parks, including $8 million to upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure in campgrounds.
  •  $121 million for senior facilities and housing.

A surplus of $367 million is forecast for 2024-25, although total revenue is lower. Non-renewable resource revenue is estimated to drop to $17.3 billion in 2024-25, from $19.4 billion forecast for 2023-24, though it is forecast to pick up over the medium term.

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