The provincial government is allocating $200 million in funding for local transportation infrastructure and waterworks projects in Alberta to help support economic recovery.
During a press conference on Friday morning, Kenney announced the funding for upgrades to local bridges, roads and community airports and to make improvements to water supply and treatment facilities.
He says that the additional grant funding will support about 1,800 jobs in communities across the province and help the province recover from the impacts of COVID-19. "Albertans in every corner of the province are facing real challenges as our economy recovers from COVID-19 and our municipalities rely on strong local infrastructure to attract investment and grow their economies. As we move ahead with Alberta’s relaunch, this additional investment will go a long way to helping rural municipalities get back on their feet and back to work."
Kenney says that Albertans have been faced with numerous challenges and the provincial government is working proactively to reboot the local economy. He says "Through the pandemic, Alberta has been struggling with a triple whammy. First of all, the biggest public health crisis in over a century which imposed a lot of damage on our economy all across our province. Secondly, we are, like the rest of the world dealing with the global coronavirus recession and thirdly, the impact of the collapse of energy prices which has hammered our largest industry of course our energy sector. All of this is after five tough years." He goes on to say "That is why Alberta's government has acted with speed and real ambition to protect our economy, protect livelihoods and protect job creators."
Transportation Minister Ric McIver says that stimulus funding will help support Alberta's relaunch and recovery. He says "We are taking the next step in Alberta’s economic recovery by significantly increasing funding for well-used infrastructure and water grant programs for our municipalities. This stimulus funding is just one part of our government’s economic recovery plan to get Albertans back to work. It makes sense to flow stimulus funding into our municipalities through existing programs that communities are familiar with, that build and rebuild roads, bridges, and water infrastructure that communities need constructed and fixed."
McIvor outlines how the funds will be allocated and he says "Of this $200 million, $50 million will go to municipalities through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program." He further outlines that $150 million will go towards the Alberta Municipal Water and Wastewater partnership and first Nations water tie in which supports upgrades for water infrastructure."
The water infrastructure grants will be used for improvements to water supply and treatment facilities, as well as upgrades to wastewater services, including lagoons, berms and sewage treatment. The funding will also support First Nations connections to new and existing regional water systems which will provide clean drinking water to First Nations communities.
Kenney says that the $150 million in funding for waterworks will create about 1,300 jobs across Alberta and will fund 54 municipal waterworks projects. Some projects will begin as soon as next week.