With the 2023 provincial election campaign now in its final weeks, candidates in the region and across the province continue to outline and explain their respective plans and proposals for the next four years.
Which party will come out on top in the May 29 vote and form the next provincial government remains to be seen. Yet regardless of who wins the next four-year mandate, many challenges confronting rural and urban communities will need to be addressed going forward.
For example, the multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficit now facing Alberta municipalities represents a significant and ongoing danger to the province’s overall economic well-being.
According to the Alberta Municipalities association, the current municipal infrastructure deficit stands at $30 billion. Residents here and elsewhere in the province are right to ask whether the new government will be willing and/or able to address this troubling situation.
“Alberta’s $30 billion municipal infrastructure deficit will worsen unless more money is made available to your local government so it can maintain existing water systems, sewers, roads, and bridges. These are vital to the ongoing success of all communities,” Alberta Municipalities officials said in the association’s new ‘Think Alberta, Vote Local’ campaign.
“When it comes to municipal infrastructure, the current rate of funding available for this and all other infrastructure is not keeping up with the needs of our communities.”
Alberta communities can only thrive and grow if they have “predictable funding for long-term investments in reliable infrastructure that meets the needs of current and future residents.”
Alberta’s overall economy is tightly tied to the province’s road and highway network – and make no mistake, without adequate and well-maintained infrastructure, vital industries such as oil and gas, agriculture and forestry will be hampered and harmed.
While it remains to be seen which party will form the next government, Albertans will expect the new administration to immediately start making a concerted effort to address the troubling infrastructure deficit now facing municipalities large and small across this province.
Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.