June 05, 2014

Building Our Urban and Rural Communities: Support for Calgary and Edmonton LRT

CALGARY, AB (June 5, 2014): A Wildrose government will support the ongoing expansion of Calgary and Edmonton LRT networks by committing $1.2 billion over four years – on top of regular municipal infrastructure investment – to both projects, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

The LRT funding commitment is the centerpiece of Moving Alberta Forward: Building Our Urban & Rural Communities, the first of nine policy initiatives Wildrose will unveil this summer and fall. It was announced this morning in Calgary.

“Wildrose believes LRT expansion in our two major cities is absolutely critical to our future economic prosperity and reducing our environmental impact, and that’s why we’ve made this commitment in writing today,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. 

“We will provide all Alberta communities with the support they need to manage their growth and meet the next generation’s needs. That’s what Building Our Rural and Urban Communities is all about.”

Applying Wildrose 2014 budget recommendations, Alberta will see a $1.4 billion surplus by 2016-17. Today’s commitment will see $300 million a year earmarked for LRT expansion in Calgary and Edmonton over the course of four years for a total commitment of $1.2 billion

This funding would be on top of the no-strings-attached dollars municipalities would receive under the 10/10 Community Infrastructure Transfer, which will send 10% of all tax revenues and 10% of budget surpluses directly to municipalities.

The Wildrose LRT commitment offers at least $50 million a year more for Calgary and Edmonton expansion projects than they are in line to receive from the PC government.

“In a Wildrose government, Calgary and Edmonton will have a proud and willing partner in LRT expansion,” Smith said. “The future has never been brighter for these great Canadian cities. As Premier, I’d be proud to work hand in hand with them in securing that future.”


Other municipal infrastructure policies include:

  Implement the Wildrose 10/10 Community Infrastructure Transfer,   allocating 10 per cent of all tax revenues and 10 per cent of surpluses to   municipalities


  Support the ongoing construction and expansion of LRT in Edmonton and Calgary   with a 4 year, $1.2 billion funding commitment starting in 2016



   Implementing   the Wildrose Debt Free Capital Plan which will include more than $50 billion   in guaranteed infrastructure spending over the next 10 years over and above   billions of additional infrastructure funding stemming from annual budget   surpluses



  Assembling and publishing an online Alberta   Infrastructure Priority List outlining the priority of all requested capital   projects across the province and the objective criteria used to arrive at   that priority



  Building more infrastructure projects with fewer tax dollars by opening   up the competitive bidding process to small and medium size construction companies,   substantially decreasing sole source contracts, and prohibiting companies who   are working or bidding on government projects from lobbying the government or   making political donations


A Wildrose government will also take real action to support growth in rural communities, which face their own unique challenges in maintaining their economic competitiveness. Policies include:


 Design and implement a Water Use   Strategy  that ensures adequate water   supplies for food production and enables small urban and rural communities to   develop and grow as they see fit



  Develop an Agricultural Land   Preservation Strategy to avoid the premature fragmentation or conversion of   agricultural lands to other uses



  Pass legislation entrenching property rights protection into law and   review all existing laws dealing with property rights to ensure that when needed   public projects are undertaken, negative impacts on affected property owners   are minimized and fully compensated for



  Provide more fairness and clarity to farmers and ranchers regarding their   access to and use of land, water, and other private property


“For years, the PCs have been inconsistent, unpredictable and politically motivated in how they support our communities,” Wildrose Municipal Affairs Critic Jeff Wilson said. “The policies we bring forward today recognize their autonomy and will provide them with the clarity, fairness and consistency they deserve.”


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