WHEREAS the province allocates funding for provincial highway network capital projects on a province-wide priority system;AND WHEREAS the population concentration around Albertas major centres will inevitably result in priority being given to provincial highways in or around these centres, thereby reducing the number of capital projects in rural areas;AND WHEREAS non-renewable resource revenue, the source of which is derived mainly from activities in rural areas, accounts for a large portion of provincial revenues and, in turn, funding for road infrastructure;AND WHEREAS residents in rural areas deserve the same access to quality infrastructure as those in larger urban centres;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to establish an adequately funded separate program for provincial highway capital projects in rural municipalities, to ensure the highway network in rural municipalities meets satisfactory standards now and into the future.
In selecting capital projects for the provincial highway network, Alberta Transportation ranks projects based on province-wide priorities. Our concern here is that with the populations around our major centres and the political power that comes with it, more and more of the capital projects will occur in these areas at the expense of projects in other more rural areas. This is despite the fact that the majority of the non-renewable resource revenues in the province originate from within rural municipalities.In fact, the 2002/2003 Provincial Financial Statements show that these non-renewable resource revenues of $7.1 billion are over 10 times the $673 million total provincial transportation expenses for the same period. Non-renewable resource revenue was the largest provincial revenue category and, with rural Alberta as this revenue source, we create a similar situation to that of the provinces net transfer payment to the federal government.Many provincial highways also serve as resource roads in rural municipalities. These provincial highways do not qualify for resource road funding and, if they are not high on the provincial priority list, they will not see the attention they need and could deteriorate to the point of having a negative impact on the industry.Our resolution is an attempt to ensure that funds will always be available for projects in rural municipalities. We feel this is extremely important to make sure that rural Albertans are afforded the same access to good roads as Albertans in or near larger urban centres.We thank you for considering our resolution and respectfully request your support.
Resolution 33-02F, endorsed by delegates at the fall 2002 convention, urges the Government of Alberta to implement sustainable and predictable capital funding to remove fluctuations in infrastructure grants in relation to the provincial operating budget, enabling long-term commitments to be made and kept with municipalities.In the 2003 provincial budget, the government committed to the establishment of a sustainability fund to provide a fixed amount annually to support the governments budget. Further, the fund allocated a specific level of funding dedicated to capital infrastructure on an annual basis.