I N F R A S T R U C T U R E I N V E S T M E N T
Power in Numbers
Alberta’s infrastructure plans require a long game strategy
“It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse.”
This is an old adage heard frequently these days,
from people trying to make sense of how our lives
have all changed and our economy has stalled.
Anyone who’s been in business – or politics – long enough
to see good times has also seen bad times. Over my career,
I’ve guided elected officials, colleagues and clients through
fires, floods, viral epidemics, international trade disputes and
more than one crash in Alberta’s energy economy. For many,
this entire year has just been one long bad time.
It is hard to predict when the current conditions will
take a turn for the better. Our economy has been dealt the
unprecedented dual blow of a global pandemic and depressed
prices for oil and gas.
Alberta’s political leaders are telling us just how bad it
is on a near-daily basis. “It’s been a bad year,” they said in
August when we learned the province was staring down a
$24 billion deficit, nearly $12 billion in lost revenues and
debt approaching $100 billion.
There are tough choices ahead. Alberta is facing a future
filled with having to do less with less – not more with less.
But the urgency with which we right our fiscal ship quickly
shouldn’t come at the expense of clear thinking and a
Public spending on infrastructure has always been a good
investment and a proven stimulus tactic. For the short term,
it can create important economic stimulus. Over the last
six months, the provincial government has done just that.
By expediting previously delayed infrastructure projects,
ARCHA members have had a busy summer creating good
jobs and supporting communities across the province.
While spending large sums of money on infrastructure, at
a quick pace, may seem like a good solution going forward, in
fact it is neither efficient nor sustainable. Our road network is
constantly aging and faced with growing demands. We need
a long-term approach that ensures infrastructure investments
are strategic and cost-effective to provide long-lasting social
and economic benefits.
ARHCA has established itself as a powerful voice that
can effect policy change. Its advocacy work has prompted
government to engage on a wide variety of policy issues
that impact our industry and its operators’ health. These
By Lee Funke, Torque Communications
But moving the needle on infrastructure
policy takes more than the right timing
with a strong message. It takes volume.
ALBERTA HEAVY Quarter 4 2020 21