The government is doubling the capital maintenance and renewal (CMR) funding in 2020-21 from $937 million to $1.9 billion by accelerating the capital plan to get Albertans back to work.
With the employment picture bleak because of the one-two punch of the COVID-induced recession and the collapse of oil prices, the Kenney administration says its acting quickly to by working with companies across the province so they can keep their workers employed.
Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie says there are several shovel ready projects the province had on the books to complete over the next few years, like resurfacing roads, repairing bridges, restoring schools and fixing potholes. Instead of doing it over several years, they are accelerating the projects.
"What we decided to do is add some new money and bring it forward, and try to get started on anything that can be accelerated right now," says MLA Guthrie. "Stuff that's shovel-ready, stuff that we can do right away as soon as we come out of COVID to try to get people back to work sooner.
Unfortunately, that won't include the Hwy. 1A-22 interchange. That is being held up by an additional archaeological dig scheduled for the spring and negotiations of the pipeline right-of-way.
"I'd love to be able to push those forward and take care of those issues, but some of them just require time," he says.
Guthrie says there's the projects that will be completed will have a two-fold impact.
"Getting people back to work is first and foremost, but also these are infrastructure projects and maintenance renewals that we need as a province."
At this point, he's uncertain which ones will be undertaken in the Airdrie-Cochrane constituency.