ALBERTA RURAL MUNICIPALITIES GET MILLIONS FOR BRIDGE MAINTENANCE
Small towns and rural municipalities are getting $35 million from the Alberta government to help pay for long-delayed maintenance on bridges and resource roads.
Rural municipalities are responsible for 8,800 Alberta bridges, but financial pressures have forced many to fall behind in the work needed to keep them safe and in good working condition.
About $21 million will go towards bridge maintenance and repairs.
Al Kemmere, president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, said the funding is welcome but is only a first step toward addressing the infrastructure deficit.
"It's going to require $70 million a year for the next 10 years to catch up on that deficit," Kemmere said. "So this is a great start down that path of catching up on that deficit."
The money for the Strategic Transportation infrastructure Program is part of the government's $34.8-billion capital plan.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said he wished he could allocate more money, because the province has long deferred maintenance on many buildings, roads and bridges.
"We are in a difficult economic circumstance and we have to balance our priorities," he said.
Municipalities can also use some of the money to add lights to local airports to make them usable after sundown.
Municipalities have until early February to apply for funding for the next fiscal year.