I N F R A S T R U C T U R E I N V E S T M E N T
Reimagining Alberta the Future of New economics require a discussion on improving
By Heather Kennedy, P. Eng
As Canada prepares to address the consequences of
the coronavirus pandemic, governments across the
country are seeking new approaches to meet the
needs of our citizens, communities and the economy.
Fortunately, the ARHCA has given the Alberta government
a head-start on several of the decisions they’ll need to make
to meet our needs. I was among eight people ARHCA pulled
together in 2018 to form a Transportation Infrastructure
Advisory Panel. The panel was tasked with developing
recommendations to help solve these challenges. Certainly,
these existed in our pre-COVID world as well. But the
pandemic has accelerated the urgency to find solutions.
The decisions we make in the near term will greatly impact
our ability to grow the economy and to support the creation
of good-quality jobs in the long term. These decisions range
from how we support existing businesses and grow new
industries to the type of infrastructure and services we need
to ensure our communities remain connected and strong.
Our group imagined an Alberta that prudently
funds road capital and maintenance for several years
at a time. We imagined a province that uses a data-informed,
scientific approach to extract the economic
development and environmental opportunities of modern
road construction. We imagined a provincial government
that sets its infrastructure priorities independently – with
policy guidance from technically savvy experts working in
a well-integrated system.
The Advisory Panel’s work was proficient, practical and
positive. We benefited from ARHCA staff’s work on the
history and statistics. We had access to inspiring research
on what’s being done in Alberta, the rest of Canada and
worldwide to build safer, longer-lasting, more cost-efficient
roads – and what’s in store for the future.
Not only is our work still applicable in today’s context
– it’s more important than ever. It’s imperative that the
government, supported by AHRCA and others, pursue real
solutions that can be implemented quickly, together.
It was clear to our Advisory Panel that while Alberta’s
road transportation network is sound, it is unnecessarily
costly to operate, and is mired in the past. Government
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