WHEREAS the total estimated value of bridge structures that are located on municipal roads is estimated at $1,590,280,000; AND WHEREAS the annual contribution required to replace the existing structures based on the estimated remaining life of bridge structures is estimated at $27,780,000; AND WHEREAS many of the bridge structures in use today were constructed in the 1950s and early 1960s and are nearing or exceeded the 50-year life expectancy;AND WHEREAS the current level of funding allocated for the replacement of bridges located on municipal roads is insufficient to maintain this essential infrastructure;
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 is consistent with the estimated remaining life of the bridge structures and reflects the needs of the community, agriculture and local industry.
The estimated annual contribution of $27,780,000 to maintain the existing bridge structures is based on the estimated remaining life. This figure does not take into consideration the increase in the demands placed on municipal infrastructure, related to a general increase in the population, an increase in the industrial activity in rural Alberta as well as changes in type and size of equipment used in the agricultural and transportation industry. Public safety is at risk of being compromised by bridge structures that are inadequate in terms of design, size and load-carrying capacity.The current base level of funding provided by the provincial government for bridges in municipal roadways was increased from $9 million to $14 million for the 2003/2004 fiscal year and there is some indication that this level of funding may be retained for the 2004/2005 fiscal year. While the increase in the funding level is appreciated, it is not sufficient to maintain the existing bridge infrastructure or the changing needs of industry and the agricultural community.
The AAMDC has two resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue. Resolution 17-00F, endorsed at the fall 2000 convention urges the province to provide adequate long-term non-restrictive funding to municipalities to cover all aspects of bridge maintenance/replacement. In its response, the province said that Alberta Infrastructure was working with the AAMDC on new formulas for allocation of provincial funding for local roads, including local bridges.Resolution 13-98F, endorsed at the fall 1998 convention, calls on the AAMDC to recommend funding principles to the provincial government which would achieve fair and equitable funding for the replacement of bridge structures. The province responded by saying that Alberta Transportation and Utilities (AT&U) included an additional $5 million per year in its draft 1999-2002 Business Plan for upgrading bridges on local roads. Provincial funding for municipal bridge structures would be addressed during consultations between the department and municipalities.