The Canadian province of Alberta has doubled its capital maintenance and renewal funding in 2020-21 to $1.37 billion in order to keep workers employed and take an advantage of less-busy roads and buildings to get maintenance moving.

Jason Kenney, Alberta premier, announced the increase from $673.7 million, saying the change will allow the government to act quickly and work with companies across the province so they can keep workers employed during the challenging economic times posed by COVID-19 and then keep them employed moving forward.

“These infrastructure investments will be focused on projects that can be actioned quickly,” said Kenney in a statement. “By doubling our capital maintenance and renewal project funds, we will deliver much-needed improvements to important assets, keep companies operating and, most importantly, keep Albertans working.”

The budget will focus on resurfacing roads, repairing bridges and filling potholes, along with restoring schools. “As the weather improves and buildings are empty,” Kenney said, “now is the perfect time for us to act.”

Ron Glen, CEO of Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, says that investing in road construction and maintenance is an excellent value for taxpayers and that “this significant contribution will create thousands of jobs and economic benefits to communities across Alberta.”

The 2020 budget already includes $4.96 billion for capital in 2020-21 and $13.88 billion over the three-year fiscal plan, an increase of 21 percent compared to 2019. With 114 projects currently in planning and design and 95 projects in construction, including 27 schools and nine major bridge and road projects, not including capital maintenance and repair, Alberta aims to keep transportation projects, especially, at the forefront of the province’s construction effort.

By accelerating the capital plan, Alberta expects $294.8 million for transportation projects, including an additional $43 million for operations, which covers work repairing potholes across the province.

A spokesperson for the province says that the bulk of the work will go toward bridge repair and road improvements, including pinpointing pothole repairs. Another major portion of the funding will go toward K-12 schools to repair asphalt and playgrounds, while college and universities will also see a key portion of the funding for pavement repair, along with other improvements.