WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has approximately 30,800 kilometres of provincial highways, and this infrastructure is essential for the movement of goods and services in the rural areas;AND WHEREAS funding for primary highway construction has been reduced from $127.5 million in the 2000/01 budget year to $100.8 million in the 2002/03 budget year, and funding for secondary highway construction has similarly been reduced from $81.8 million to $41.4 million;AND WHEREAS funding for primary highway rehabilitation has been reduced from $98.8 million in the 2000/01 budget year to $48.3 million in the 2002/03 budget year, and funding for secondary highway rehabilitation projects has similarly been reduced from $30.6 million to $23.0 million;AND WHEREAS the projected budgets for construction and rehabilitation for the next three budget years indicates a further reduction in both areas, such that in 2005/06, the budget for construction of provincial highways will have been reduced 50.11% from 2000/01 funding levels, and the rehabilitation budget will similarly be reduced by 42.5% over the same time period;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;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to increase the provincial highway construction and rehabilitation budgets to at least the 2000/01 levels and make an 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 5,500 kilometres of Albertas paved provincial highway 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 following table indicates that from 2000 to 2002 (based on final expenditures on primary and secondary highways), funding for primary and secondary highway construction and rehabilitation has steadily declined. And while the province has rightfully increased its commitment to development of the North-South Economic Corridor, it is almost assured that the balance of the provincial highway network will deteriorate without additional funds. 2000/01 $ (millions) 2001/02 $ (millions) 2002/03 $ (millions)Primary Highway Construction 127.5 135.0 100.8Primary Highway Rehabilitation 98.8 94.8 48.3Secondary Highway Construction 81.8 70.9 41.4Secondary Highway Rehabilitation 30.6 24.1 23.0Strategic Economic Corridors* 167.2 213.1 119.5*Strategic Economic Corridor includes NSTC, Edmonton and Calgary Ring Roads and Other Trade CorridorsOutside of the funding allocated to the development of the Strategic Economic Corridor routes, future funding of construction and rehabilitation of the provincial highway system is also projected to decline. The following table illustrates Alberta Transportations projected spending on construction and rehabilitation projects through to the 2005/06 budget year: 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 $ (millions) % $ (millions) % $ (millions) %Maintenance 186.8 17.7 190.1 15.9 193.5 15.7Other Road Infrastructure 14.3 1.4 14.3 1.2 14.3 1.2Provincial Highway Construction 142.2 13.5 123.5 10.3 104.4 8.5Provincial Highway Rehabilitation 94.2 9.0 88.1 7.4 74.4 6.0Strategic Economic Corridors* 205.2 19.5 289.7 24.2 345.8 28.1Grants, Water etc. 409.4 38.9 491.2 41.0 498.5 40.5Totals 1052.1 100 1196.9 100 1230.9 100*Strategic Economic Corridor includes NSTC, Edmonton and Calgary Ring Roads and Other Trade CorridorsFactors like rapid population growth and the consolidation of the grain transportation system have certainly increased the pressures on the provincial highway network. Since assuming the direction and control of the former secondary highway system, funding levels have declined, and according to the departments annual report, there were only nine construction projects on the former secondary highways in the entire province in 2002. There is certainly a concern that if Alberta Transportation does not maintain the road network, rural municipalities will be forced to again assume a role in provincial highway construction and rehabilitation.
Resolution 3-98S, endorsed by delegates at the spring 1998 convention, and expired at the spring 2003 convention, emphasizes the need for reinvestment in the rural transportation network in Alberta.