WHEREAS the provincial roadway network is a vital component to provincial economic development and for the efficient and safe movement of all Albertans;AND WHEREAS population growth and increases in resource activity are straining the condition of primary and secondary highways;AND WHEREAS the majority of the primary and secondary highways built in the late 1970s are now reaching the end of their lifespan;AND WHEREAS according to Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation thirty four per cent of Alberta highways are in fair to poor condition;AND WHEREAS Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation has stated in its 2004 05 Annual Report that 1,800 km of provincially-owned highways should be resurfaced annually, up from the 580 km of roads that are currently resurfaced each year;AND WHEREAS delays in allocating funding toward the needed rehabilitation of primary and secondary highways are likely to result in increased spending on these projects in future provincial budgets;AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta acknowledges that at $2.668 billion, highways are the largest component of the entire provincial $7.2 billion infrastructure debt;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the provincial government to address the accumulating provincial highway infrastructure debt by allocating $2.668 billion over 10 years to rehabilitate affected roads so that they reach acceptable standards;AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the provincial government to form a task force that would investigate and prioritize new construction projects critical to enhancing primary and secondary highways in Alberta.
TerminologyAccording to Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, A primary highway is an arterial intended to serve major cities and accommodate interprovincial, provincial and inter-regional travel. A secondary highway is a collector intended to address intra-regional travel and special resource and tourist traffic. Both types of highways are under provincial government responsibility. The province is currently involved in legislative processes to combine the terms primary and secondary highways into a single category called provincial highways. Local Allocation of Infrastructure Funding The Government of Alberta has demonstrated its recognition of the municipal infrastructure deficit through the development of the $3 billion Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program (AMIP) that was announced earlier this year. While AMIP will address many pressing local infrastructure issues, some Alberta communities are agreeing to allocate a portion of their program entitlement toward offsetting costs for projects involving the rehabilitation and/or construction of primary and secondary highways.This practice underscores the need for the provincial government to direct more funding toward infrastructure projects for which they are responsible, thereby granting municipalities with the ability to better fund their local projects. Highway Infrastructure DebtThe $2.668 billion provincial highway infrastructure debt only includes the rehabilitation of provincial highways. The amount does not include provisions for new highway construction projects.
One of the Premiers five mandates is to provide the roads, schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing economy and population. In 2007, the province announced their 20 Year Strategic Capital Plan. This plan sets out eight key areas for funding, of which Municipal Infrastructure and the Provincial Highway Network, Other Transportation and Corridors are the first two priorities listed. In May 2008, the province invested a record $1.9 billion through the Capital Plan in 2008 on the ring roads in Edmonton and Calgary, on highway and bridge construction, and on repaving and widening work across the province. Based on the 2008-11 Capital Plan, government will invest $5.2 billion in Albertas provincial highway network over the next three years, an increase of $548 million from 2007-10 levels.In addition, Alberta and the Federal government came to an agreement for the Building Canada Fund. In total, the Government of Canada will provide more than $2.1 billion in guaranteed funding, between 2007 and 2014, for infrastructure initiatives in Alberta under the Building Canada plan.Resolution 3-07F also addresses funding for provincial highways.