WHEREAS rural municipalities are the economic drivers of Alberta with their natural resources; and
WHEREAS rail is an essential component of the provincial transportation network; and
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta’s existing 20-Year Strategic Capital Plan does not dedicate funding to rail infrastructure projects;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties work with the Government of Alberta to include rail infrastructure in its 20-Year Strategic Capital Plan for the province and that the Government of Alberta seek opportunities for private-public partnerships (P3s) for additional rail infrastructure in the province.
The Government of Alberta’s 20-Year Strategic Capital Plan was adopted on January 29, 2008. The Plan is designed to anticipate the pressures of growth and to develop plans for eight key areas. One of these areas is the provincial transportation network, which includes funding for highways and ring roads, for enhancing links to the port at Prince Rupert, and for support for industrial development. The Plan claims to encompass all modes of transportation, including road, rail and air, yet it dedicates no funding to the development of rail infrastructure.
The Government of Alberta should look at establishing P3s in regards to rail. P3s bring cost certainty to infrastructure projects by transferring risk to the private sector and results in greater efficiency and lower cost. Shipping products by rail also provides unprecedented connectivity, scalability, flexibility, and speed, all with minimum impact on the environment.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions related to this issue.
Since Treasury Board and Finance does not have railways under its jurisdiction, the following Transportation response is made on behalf of the Government of Alberta (GOA).
The rail sector in Alberta is owned and operated by the private sector. Railways are private companies and make their investment decisions in the interests of their shareholders. The GOA does not provide funding to support rail infrastructure.
While the GOA does not provide funding to railways, railways in Alberta are benefiting or will benefit from infrastructure investments made by the GOA.
Alberta Transportation is currently developing a long-term multi-modal Transportation Strategy for Alberta (the Strategy). The Strategy will advance a direction for future infrastructure development in the province and will consider items regarding both freight and passenger rail transportation. The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties has been identified as a partner to be engaged on the Strategy.
The AAMDC accepts this response from the Government of Alberta noting that railways fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government and private industry. The AAMDC is involved in a number of rail-based initiatives through FCM including proximity and crossing issues as well as safety. Updates will be provided through member bulletins as required.