British Columbia plans to ramp up borrowing and add billions in spending for infrastructure, health care and education to address its rapidly growing and aging population.

Canada’s third-most populous province on Thursday projected its budget deficit would widen by a third to a record $7.91 billion in the year through March 2025. The government projected the shortfall would narrow over the next three years even as the province makes large investments across hospitals, schools, housing and transportation.

The budget for the coming fiscal year includes $618 million in one-time family benefits and electricity credits ahead of the provincial election, which is expected in October. The province forecasts that total debt will swell to $165 billion by fiscal 2027 from $103.8 billion this year.

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy, of the province’s governing New Democratic Party, defended the rising debt, telling reporters in the provincial capital of Victoria that British Columbia has “one of the most affordable debts in the country compared to other jurisdictions similar to ours.”

Interest costs are projected to rise from $3.33 billion in 2024 to $5.9 billion by fiscal 2027. Meanwhile, revenue is expected to grow to $86.4 billion in the period, partly thanks to taxes on a rising population as well as more natural resource revenues, the finance ministry said.

Specific policy measures include a tax on home-flipping profits within two years of purchasing a property, starting in 2025, to curb speculators in one of the world’s hottest property markets.

After drastic flooding and wildfires in recent years, B.C. is also investing $405 million over four years preparing for what it called climate emergencies.