WHEREAS Alberta Transportation and Infrastructure is in the process of reviewing and amending the guidelines and procedures for bridge construction in the Province of Alberta (GAP Funding Guidelines); and WHEREAS municipalities are directly affected by any changes or requirements of this document;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation to not make any decisions on amending guidelines and procedures for bridge construction without input from all municipalities.
Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation (AIT) has made it known that they are reviewing the GAP Guidelines. Any changes made to these guidelines will affect municipalities and therefore they should not be made in absence of municipal input. Some suggestions are proportionately sharing the engineering to encourage municipalities to shop the engineering component around. Abolishment of the AIT’s responsibility for bridges and grant each municipality funding based on their current bridge inventory. Possible increased funding to municipalities for specific portions of the guideline while reducing other areas. AIT currently pays all of the engineering other than the bridge site survey and they may have the opinion that municipalities should pay proportionately for engineering for bridge structures. This is an argument which could have merit and therefore reduce AIT’s costs; however, it could also change the dynamic of how and when assessments are being completed. “Have-not” municipalities, if required to pay all the cost of assessments, may choose not to because of the accumulated cost and therefore the infrastructure is at risk of not being properly maintained and become an unfunded liability of the province. Under the current guidelines it is often only a few thousand dollars more for a municipality to replace a bridge culvert while reducing municipal liability rather than repairing them as the province pays the greater share under replacement. Inequities may exist but any funding for these projects is a burden of the provincial tax payer in one way or another. It is in the best interest of Albertans to build and maintain a safe bridge inventory system with a guideline that is fair and equitable to ensure each structure is repaired or constructed to meet the needs of the location based on a provincial priority. This will require municipal input and not just provincial direction. Alberta does not need an infrastructure that will deteriorate over time because of a lack of standardization. Therefore this resolution is requesting that before any guidelines are created that input from municipalities be included in the rational for change.
Resolution ER4-07F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties fully supports consultative processes that are open and transparent and give the time necessary to address the issue and provide all impacted parties with a legitimate opportunity to participate; and FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta ensure the Capital Region Integrated Growth Management Plan or similar plans comply with these principles. Resolution 1-07F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to increase the level of funding for the replacement of bridges on municipal roads to a level that reflects the needs of the community, agricultural sector and local industry; and FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the existing Guidelines and Procedures (GAP-01) for Municipal Bridge Structure Funding be increased substantially from the present level of $22 million per year to address this growing infrastructure deficit.
Recently, the government undertook an exercise for the re-engineering of municipal grant programs. The Local Bridge Program is now a part of the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program, along with the Resource Road Program and the Community Airport Program. Now that higher policy level decisions have been made, it is expected that GAP funding guidelines will be up for review as well. The AAMDC will monitor this issue closely over coming months.