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WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has approximately 30,900 kilometres of Provincial Highways, and this infrastructure is essential for the movement of goods and services in the rural areas; and WHEREAS the projected Budgets for construction and rehabilitation for the next three budget years indicates a large portion of the total budget goes to construction of ring roads adjacent to large urban centers and transportation corridor roads, and as a result, fewer budget dollars are available for construction and rehabilitation of provincial highways with lower traffic volumes; and WHEREAS the 2006/07 Annual Report from Infrastructure and Transportation identifies that in Alberta, only 60.6% of all roads are in good condition, and a full 14% of all roads are in poor condition; and WHEREAS there are currently upwards of 8,700 kilometres of Alberta’s paved provincial highways that are approaching an age where rehabilitation and reconstruction must be considered, and this has increased by 600 kilometres since 2005-06; and WHEREAS the replacement value of Provincial highways is estimated to be worth approximately $20 billion, and to maintain this network of roads, a substantial investment is warranted; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the Government of Alberta to increase the Provincial Highway Construction and Rehabilitation base budgets, and encourage the Government of Alberta to make the ongoing commitment to ensure that this essential network of roads is properly maintained and upgraded.
As is indicated in Alberta Transportation’s Annual Report, “approximately 8700 kilometres of Alberta’s paved provincial highways are approaching an age where rehabilitation / reconstruction must be considered. This length would increase to approximately 11,000 kilometres in five years if no work was done. The aging provincial infrastructure will require substantial additional funding even to maintain highways in their present condition and to avoid substantial, noticeable deterioration to the driving public.” The Annual Report also notes that approximately 1,500 kilometres of highway should be resurfaced each year.Factors like rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and the consolidation of the grain transportation system have certainly increased the pressures on the Provincial Highway network. There is certainly a concern that if Alberta Transportation does not secure adequate funding, the infrastructure in the Province will continue to decline even further.
Resolution 14-05F: 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 provincialgovernment to form a task force that would investigate and prioritize new construction projects critical to enhancing primary and secondary highways in Alberta. Resolution 1-06F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Government of Alberta to reclassify the previously declassified secondary highways now causing undue financial stress on municipal governments.
The need to balance maintenance and upgrading with new projects is stressed by the government when explaining challenges for the highway network. The 2010-2011 Provincial Budget showed the Province’s commitment to the highway network even in hard economic times, however it does not specify how much of that budget will be used to maintain the current network. The AAMDC will continue to monitor events related to the provincial highway network.