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D’Arcy Lanovaz says oil money should ‘build communities’

CALGARY, AB. - A projected $7 billion dollar provincial surplus could almost wipe out Alberta’s infrastructure deficit in one year, says CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz.

According to a report in today’s Globe and Mail, rising oil and gas prices will lift the surplus of the Alberta government this year to $7 billion.

The province has previously pegged its infrastructure deficit (the amount of money needed to fund all one time building expenses) at $7.5 billion.

“Not many provinces have the opportunity to build all the schools, roads and hospitals they need in one shot,” said Lanovaz. “Given the fact we are blessed with oil and gas revenue, we should invest in our communities.”

Lanovaz said provincial infrastructure has been allowed to crumble over the last decade, noting school construction was far behind. “In Calgary alone, the public school system needs $300 million to build new schools and retrofit old ones.”

“With the kind of wealth we have, it makes no sense for us to be crowding children into old, crumbling buildings.”

The CUPE leader said that wiping out the infrastructure deficit is the best legacy the government could give to the province on Alberta’s 100th birthday.

“Infrastructure isn’t just buildings,” said Lanovaz. “These are the centres of our communities - they make life better for Albertans. Making sure we have the public services we need would be a great birthday gift.”