WHEREAS rural municipalities are the economic drivers of Alberta with their natural resources; and
WHEREAS resource roads and bridges in Alberta must be maintained in order to ensure the safe and efficient movement of natural resources and people; and
WHEREAS the 2013 provincial budget includes no funding for a number of grant programs essential to maintaining transportation infrastructure in rural municipalities;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the Government of Alberta to reinstate funding for the Resource Road Program and the Local Road Bridge Program in the 2014 provincial budget.
In the 2013 budget, the Government of Alberta announced that the Resource Road Program and the Local Road Bridge Program and will be zero-funded, a decision that will have a significant impact on rural transportation networks across the province.
Industry in remote areas of Alberta often require roads to be newly built or upgraded to accommodate the volume of heavy traffic that was not previously there. For the past 10 years, the province has been assisting municipalities by providing funding through the Resource Road Program. Previously funded at $31 million, the program is now un-funded and rural municipalities are left with the bill for costs caused by industry.
Bridges across rural Alberta are at the end of their lifespan, and without funding, the only choice for rural municipalities will be to close crossings. Rural municipalities do not have the funding available to repair and maintain the 8,500 bridges for which they currently have responsibility. The Government of Alberta estimates that the current local road bridge infrastructure requires an investment of $70 million per year for the next 10 years. The removal of the $26 million of Local Road Bridge Program funding will result in further growth in infrastructure deficits and will have detrimental impacts across rural road networks for years to come.
4-13S Local Road Bridge Program:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties call upon the Government of Alberta to ensure a second round of consultation is held after hearing data from the Committee by going to the region for a vote.
3-11F Alternative Bridge Structures and Eligibility for Funding:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties commission a report to study, outline and evaluate alternate ideas, methods and theories that could address the high cost currently associated with the replacement of bridge structures as currently outlined by the Government of Alberta.
FURTHER IT BE RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties present this report to the Government of Alberta and urge them to change their funding guidelines to include alternative, more affordable options for bridge replacement on rural roads.
Transportation: The Government of Alberta (GOA) is committed to supporting Alberta’s municipalities. The Resource Road Program and Local Road Bridge Program are part of the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program, which was not funded in Budget 2013. Municipalities continue to have access to the MSI and the Basic Municipal Infrastructure Program to fund their infrastructure needs.
The GOA will consider the comments from the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties as part of its future budget deliberations.
Treasury Board and Finance: Treasury Board and Finance remains committed to supporting municipalities and not?for-profit organizations in co-operation with other GOA ministries. However, Transportation is the appropriate ministry to contact regarding this resolution.
As the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP), which includes the Local Road Bridge Program and the Resource Road Program, was zero-funded in the 2014-15 budget, the government response to this resolution is deemed Intent Not Met. Due to the specific nature of this resolution, the AAMDC cannot amend the resolution status in relation to the $100 million committed to STIP in the 2015-15 Government of Alberta Capital Plan. Despite this, the AAMDC is pleased with the return of this funding for upcoming years.