What is a Capital Plan and how does it benefit Yukoners?

Wade Istchenko, MLA for Kluane

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, Apr 25th, 2014
by Wade Istchenko, Minister of Highways & Public Works

One of the tools the Yukon government uses to manage the use of taxpayers’ dollars is a multi-year capital plan. This plan ranks construction and development needs and spreads them out over a period of years to ensure local businesses and workers are able to take full advantage of contracting and work opportunities.

A plan of this scope must be detailed, yet flexible, with the ultimate goal of managing tax dollars with care, to ensure our spending is focussed on what Yukoners need and want. It’s also beneficial because it allows the private sector to plan ahead.

This government has a strong history of sound financial management and capital project management. In the 2012 Auditor General’s progress report, improvements were highlighted in the way the department of Highways and Public Works manages projects. Specifically, the report noted that 100 per cent of building projects were completed on time, 90 per cent of transportation infrastructure were completed on budget, and 75 percent of building development projects were on budget.

We have an excellent record of getting the most out of our capital spending. Our responsible management has put us in an enviable position in 2014 and 2015. We currently have the largest capital budget in our history at $293 million and have still been able to maintain a surplus, which is why I’m pleased to highlight some of the major projects coming down the pipe.

Your budget includes $85 million for transportation improvements, the largest ever, and $48 million for highway work. More than $7 million has been set aside for bridges and $16 million for airports.

We’ve laid out plans for work on the Silver Trail, improvements to the Haines Road, and reconstruction on the Atlin Road and the Robert Campbell Highway. As for bridges and airports, we’re planning to build a new single span Tatchun Creek Bridge, and nearly $10 million worth of work at the Whitehorse airport on replacements, resurfacing and water and sewer upgrades, as well as expansion of leasable lots. There are future plans for community airports as well, specifically in Pelly Crossing. We’re currently looking at the best way to improve the airport, while getting the most out of taxpayers’ dollars.

These projects are complex to plan. Their budgets can and should shift through the planning process, as more details are worked out. We adjust our plans. We adjust our budgets. We make sure we meet the needs of Yukoners, at a reasonable and manageable cost.

Our multi-year capital plan benefits Yukoners in a number of ways. Major project and planning opportunities benefit Yukon businesses and workers, and we are meeting the public’s needs by building infrastructure and helping to build a better, stronger Yukon. Our record speaks for itself.