WHEREAS rural municipalities are the economic drivers of Alberta with their natural resources; and
WHEREAS primary resource extraction activities are putting significant stress on highway road infrastructure in the province; and
WHEREAS highways in Alberta must be improved in order to ensure the safe and efficient movement of natural resources and people;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the Government of Alberta to improve the condition of highway infrastructure in Alberta.
The highway network in Alberta is a vital contributor to the economic well-being of the province. These roads link resources to refineries and suppliers to buyers, and therefore it is essential that they be upgraded and maintained to a standard that satisfies current and future traffic needs.
Due to increased use for industrial purposes, highways are being damaged. When industrial development occurs that affects the condition of, or requires the improvement of, a highway, the provincial government must be responsible for bringing the road to an acceptable standard.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Transportation: Commercial vehicles that exceed regulated weights are required to obtain an overweight permit. Permit fees are calculated based on overweight and actual over?the?road distance travelled. These fees are, in part, used to offset maintenance costs. Commercial vehicles over six metres high and that travel on the High Load Corridor are subject to a fee used to fund enhancements to the corridor that minimize risks to highway safety. In the past, Alberta Transportation has worked with industry to cost-share improvements to the infrastructure in order to accommodate oversized loads.
The Government of Alberta’s 2015-16 budget reduced highway maintenance funding from the previous year. This resulted in a reduction in preventative maintenance such as crack-sealing, which will likely decrease the overall lifespan of Alberta’s highways. Alberta Transportation’s 2015-16 business plan identified several priority initiatives that may lead to the long-term improvement of highway infrastructure, including the following:
While the 2016-17 provincial budget maintained the reduction in summer highway maintenance, this was emphasized to be a short-term measure by Alberta Transportation staff. The Minister of Transportation has indicated that previous funding levels for summer highway maintenance will be returned in the 2017 summer season, although this figure is not specifically itemized in the budget. Additionally, the 2016-17 provincial budget included an increase of $71.5 million for provincial highway rehabilitation compared to the 2015-16 budget, with an additional $8 million increase in the 2017-18 budget. Additionally, the 2017-18 budget estimates include a $166 million increase in highway twinning, widening and expansion.
This resolution has been assigned a status of Accepted. The AAMDC is pleased by the Government of Alberta’s increase in highway rehabilitation and improvement funding, as well as their commitment to restore summer highway maintenance funding in the summer of 2017.