FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government’s 2016-17 capital budget totals $656.1 million, representing a $53.4 million decrease from the planned spending projections announced last year.

“We continue to strategically focus our investments on infrastructure projects that grow our economy and create jobs,” said Finance Minister Roger Melanson. “Our capital budget investment will contribute an estimated $494 million to the economy and support upwards of 6,200 jobs next year. At the same time, much needed infrastructure work will be done in accordance with the principles of asset management and the recommendations of the auditor general.”

Within the capital budget, $413.3 million will be allocated to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure for road and bridge construction and maintenance as well as building upgrades to create jobs, improve safety and produce long-term energy savings.

The provincial government will invest $108.6 million in kindergarten to Grade 12 schools.

A total of $72.1 million will be invested for the maintenance and improvement of the province’s health-care facilities.

In each of these cases, the 2016-17 capital budget reflects less spending than projected last year in an effort to control spending and exercise fiscal restraint.

“The best way to get our finances on the right track is through economic growth and job creation,” Melanson said. “By investing strategically, we can ensure that New Brunswick has a well-maintained network of public assets which respond to our ongoing needs and contributes significantly to our safety, economic well-being and quality of life. New Brunswickers expect no less.”

The 2016-17 capital budget also continues to address the provincial government’s commitment to develop a multi-year infrastructure plan by projecting investments that will be made through 2018-19. Melanson said the investment of $138.8 million for 2016-17 and projected investments through 2018-19 demonstrate the commitment to strategic infrastructure projects in New Brunswick.