April 22nd, 2024

Not much for local highlights in latest provincial budget

By Medicine Hat News on March 1, 2024.


Alberta’s provincial budget provides few mentions of new major capital projects in the southeast, but provides some updates regarding ongoing items.

– Money to complete the twinning Highway 3 from Taber to Burdett over the next three years is included in the capital plan of the Transportation and Economic Corridors Ministry.

It states $64.6 million will be dedicated this coming year and $90.5 million next to complete the $170-million project.

Smaller highway projects are typically not spelled out in the provincial budget, but in the department’s construction plan also released Thursday.

It states a previously announced plan to renovating the older span of the Trans-Canada Bridge over the South Saskatchewan River will remain in design phase this year.

Also in engineering is a plan to widen 20 kilometres of Highway 41 on either side of Elkwater, as well as engineer a new separate repaving of 21 kilometres on Highway 41 directly north of Highway 1.

– Alberta Environment and Parks plans to move ahead with updating the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, including $7 million for the major consultation and regulatory exercise. The plan that established long-term land-use planning strategy for the region came into effect in 2014.

The government had allocated $1 million last year to advance the required 10-year update, but didn’t spend the money.

– New system of providing infrastructure grants to municipalities came close to estimates released last fall when the Local Government Fiscal Framework was developed.

It replace the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and will provide a total of $724 million this year, and $820 million in 2025-26. That money is divided on a formula to all towns, counties and cities, but the City of Medicine’s share would be about $8.2 million this year.

That’s less than the $10 million per year that was common prior to the pandemic, during which amounts were advanced then reduced in subsequent years.

– New school and modernization project funding will be detailed at a press event at a Calgary high school on Friday morning, the ministries of infrastructure and education announced on Thursday. Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education has on its capital plan the construction of major new facilities to replace three schools in the city.

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