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conversations include the root causes of claims, risk
allocation in contracts with Alberta Transportation, contractor
evaluation metrics and procurement models.
Government also sought input from ARHCA on revising
the Infrastructure Act. ARHCA and other industry associations
are advocating for the government to use this legislative
tool to create an independent body for the contracting,
procurement and management of infrastructure. The process
can be depoliticized and aligned more closely with long-term
project life cycles.
Each of these discussions is also an opportunity for ARHCA
to persuade the government that the most significant, most
efficient return on infrastructure investment is predictable
spending on long-term projects, with high social benefit,
while financing is cheap. In other words, now.
Your association embraced this approach in 2018, when
it convened a Transportation Infrastructure Advisory Panel
of public and private sector thought leaders to recommend
policy options to improve the planning, construction,
maintenance and administration of Alberta’s roadways. One
of the key recommendations of the panel was to create an
independent agency or utility to handle these and other
aspects of infrastructure planning.
That recommendation is perhaps more important today
than it was two years ago. And it is supported by others in
the construction sector. The upcoming ARHCA Summit is a
critical opportunity to resurrect this message again, this time
with the direct attention of the Government of Alberta, who
is expected to attend.
But moving the needle on infrastructure policy takes more
than the right timing with a strong message. It takes volume.
An overwhelming noise of bad times threatens to prevent
the government from seeing the solutions your industry offers
to improve infrastructure policy. Ensuring the government
hears your message will take as much of the ARHCA
membership as you can muster.
Your association has a solid strategy to engage this
government and influence next year’s budget and the
province’s policies for the future – which will be rolled out
over several months. But a strategy is only as good as its
implementation. Success will depend on ARCHA members
becoming active, vocal advocates. If it’s done right, you’ll look
back on this bad time with the satisfaction you did all you
could. Because it was never so bad it couldn’t get worse. n