Despite city council dipping into next year’s capital fund to make up the shortfall from curtailed provincial LRT renewal funding, no planned projects should be affected.
Coun. Tony Caterina says when they asked the province why, they were delivered a stock response.
“The standard line that, you know, economic times are tough, so they’re reducing their contribution.”
Caterina says the capital budget will trudge along despite having to make up for the $23 million provincial shortcoming.
“I think where the concern lies is in the bigger amounts going into the building of new infrastructure, which would be obviously the valley line is the next one up and the contemplation was always that it would be a third and we were hoping that they would even up that to 40%.”
Caterina says this deviation has led to uncertainty of the stability of funding for future planned infrastructure projects.
Coun. Micheal Walters echoes that concern, but he accepts the provincial explanation of hard times, and is grateful to be getting any support from the Legislature at all.
“You know, no one anticipated the cost associated with things like Fort McMurray when the year started. Considering this is renewal money, it’s still a really great bargain for the city. Usually federal and provincial grants are for pure capital, building new things, not fixing the old things.”
Walters says traffic congestion costs Canada $7 million annually, and a lot of that is right here in Alberta.
“While there’s an upfront cost there’s also a significant return on that investment, and we have to look at it that way.”