Infrastructure and Transportation in Rural Alberta
Rural roads and bridges serve as important arteries to help Alberta’s economy grow by connecting natural resources to national and international transportation corridors. This critical infrastructure provides the oil, gas, forestry, and agriculture industries with access to the natural resources that they depend on. A safe and viable rural road and bridge network is key to supporting the provincial economy.
Rural municipalities manage approximately 75% of Alberta’s roads and 60% of Alberta’s bridges. As a result, transportation and infrastructure are often the largest budget item for rural municipalities.
Why is this important to Albertans?
Rural Alberta drives Alberta’s economy. Without these critical transportation links, Alberta’s natural resources would be unable to reach key processing facilities and markets throughout Alberta, Canada, and beyond. These linkages are key to economic growth and development, as well as the functions that enable the high quality of life and standards of living that Albertans enjoy.
The value of these key linkages can be measured by the fact that 41% of Alberta’s public and private investment, and 26% of Alberta’s GDP is in rural Alberta despite having only 18% of Alberta’s population.
What can the Alberta government do to support rural Alberta on this issue?
To keep the Alberta economy running, governments must understand the important role of rural Alberta’s infrastructure and transportation network. They must also understand the financial burden this places on rural municipalities who, without funding from other levels of government, may be unable to continue to build or maintain this network to the standard required to accommodate Albertans and the industrial usage. As a result, municipalities face an increasing infrastructure deficit. For this reason, the Government of Alberta must support a long-term and predictable funding program to ensure the sustainability and viability of rural Alberta’s communities, and allow Alberta’s natural resources to drive Alberta’s economy forward.