EDMONTON, AB (August 29, 2012): Today, Wildrose Infrastructure and Transportation Critic Drew Barnes and Wildrose Deputy House Leader Shayne Saskiw will begin a two day tour of meeting with families, businesses and municipal leaders to discuss infrastructure and transportation issues, and other priorities in the region. They will drive both Highway 63 and Highway 881, and discuss the impacts of the ongoing delay of twinning Highway 63 with residents.
The PC government first announced the twinning of the highway in 2006, but have failed to set any deadlines or timelines for when the project will be finished. Up to this point only 16 km out of 240 km of the project has been twinned. Barnes said that the PC government has only been able to produce short-term band aids instead of providing a tangible plan and solution that would put Albertans first. “The government has failed to demonstrate the political will to get Highway 63 twinned,” Barnes said. “This clearly is a priority infrastructure project that will improve the safety and lives of thousands of Albertans, but unfortunately we are still waiting for a concrete timeline from the government.” During the tour, Barnes and Saskiw will be driving Highway 63 and Highway 881 on the return trip on August 30th. They will also be conducting meetings with first responders to discuss the challenges they face on reacting to incidents on Highway 63, and with Mayor Melissa Blake to hear more about the concerns and issues raised by the residents of Fort McMurray. Saskiw said that he is looking forward to the trip as the continued inaction on 63 remains a major concern with residents in northern Alberta. “The north remains an economic engine for the province, but instead of prioritizing spending on important infrastructure projects like twinning Highway 63, the government continues to waste millions of dollars on corporate welfare, lavish health bonuses and expenses and extravagant patronage posts,” Saskiw said. “Unlike Premier Alison Redford who lacks the political will to put a timeline on the project, the Wildrose puts the twinning of Highway 63 at the top of the priority list.”
BACKGROUNDER Barnes and Saskiw itinerary for Highway 63 tour August 29th 12 p.m.: Meeting with Lac La Biche Chamber and City Council. 4:15 p.m.: Meeting with Plamondon Fire & Rescue & Business and Community Leaders. August 30th 12 p.m.: Meeting with Fort McMurry Mayor, Melissa Blake. 1:45 p.m: Meeting with members of Syncrude and the Oil Sands Developer Group. 3:30 p.m.: Meeting with members of Twin 63.