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Alberta invests $1.1 billion in municipal infrastructure

Alberta invests $1.1 billion in municipal infrastructure
GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA — The Alberta government is providing $1.1 billion in funding to municipalities to build shovel-ready infrastructure in 2020. Left to right: Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu, Minister of Transportation Ric McIver, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Alberta Union Municipalities Association vice-president Tanya Thorn.

EDMONTON — Alberta is providing $1.1 billion in funding to municipalities to build shovel-ready infrastructure in 2020.

The provincial government announced it is providing municipalities with $500 million in additional funding as part of the province’s Alberta Recovery Plan and will also match $233 million in federal funding to support municipal operating costs during the COVID-19 pandemic and $70 million to support public transit operating costs for a total of $606 million under the Safe Restart Agreement.

“The past five months have been tough for Albertans as we faced the global coronavirus recession, the unprecedented collapse of energy prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic. But Albertans are resilient, and Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold plan to build, diversify and create jobs. This investment will provide municipalities with the funding they need to get through this crisis, create good jobs now, and build the infrastructure that will fuel economic growth in our province for generations to come,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.

The $500 million in additional municipal infrastructure funding is part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure spending announced as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.

Municipalities and Metis Settlements can begin applying for funding to build roads, bridges, water and wastewater treatment plants, and other infrastructure that would not have been built in 2020 or 2021 without the stimulus.

Funding will be distributed on a per capita basis with a $50,000 minimum funding amount for municipalities with small populations. Summer villages will be allocated a base of $5,000 plus the per capita amount.

A local government must commit its entire allocation to projects by Oct. 1, 2020. Any remaining funding may be reallocated to other municipalities.

Up to five applications can be submitted per municipality. Applicants are encouraged to use their allocation on one or two projects to minimize administrative and reporting requirements, a government release stated.

“Alberta’s communities play a critical role in our economy and we want to help them get shovel-ready projects into the ground immediately to create jobs, drive economic growth and improve Alberta’s competitive position. We’re also asking municipalities to reduce taxes and red tape to make it easier to start up a new business, speed up approvals for development permits and make their municipality a better place to invest. Together, we’ll continue to make Alberta the best place to live and do business in North America,” said Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced Alberta’s municipalities into a position where we need operating assistance for the first time ever. This partnership will not only allow us to meet our immediate operating concerns but will also create jobs while providing needed infrastructure within our city. When we say, ‘we’re all in this together,’ this announcement is proof that it’s more than just words,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

Prior to the municipal stimulus program, the Alberta government committed $1.85 billion in Budget 2020 for municipalities through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and $244 million from the federal government’s Gas Tax Fund.

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