IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the Government of Alberta to consider review and amendment of Policy Number TCE-TS 509 in order to produce a policy that is more equitable to all municipalities, taking into consideration their size and proximity to a Provincial Highway.
WHEREAS the Alberta Ministry of Transportation adopted Policy Number TCE-TS 509 on October 10, 2007 titled “Who Pays for Highway Improvements Caused by Single Developments, Multiple Developments, or In Support of New Developments Identified by the Department as Future Work”;
WHEREAS pursuant to section 4(e) of this policy, a cost sharing formula only applies to projects listed within the Alberta Ministry of Transportation three year business plan, and any cost sharing requests outside the one to three year business plan horizon are to be considered depending on their amount of benefit to the Ministry;
WHEREAS Policy Number TCE-TS-509 applies to all municipalities within the Province of Alberta, and does not make any differentiation with regard to the population of a municipality, or that municipality’s proximity to a Provincial Highway;
WHEREAS smaller municipalities in proximity to a Provincial Highway are less likely to be identified for projects inside the Ministry’s three year business plan horizon; and
WHEREAS this lack of differentiation between municipalities has resulted in an inequitable disbursement of Provincial assistance for the funding of highway improvements identified as necessary by the Ministry.
The current Alberta Ministry of Transportation Policy Number TCE-TS 509 outlines the provincial policy for who will pay for highway improvements that they deem to be required. This policy affects the Town of Edson greatly, considering that the Trans-Canada Highway passes directly through our municipality, as well as affecting other municipalities in highway proximity.
Whenever there is a subdivision within 1.6 km of a provincial highway (this number was .8 km until amendments to the Subdivision and Development Regulation were adopted last November), the municipality is required under the Subdivision and Development Regulation to send a referral to Transportation. At that point, if Transportation deems that the subdivision has an impact on their highway and improvements are required, such as road widening for free flow connector lanes, their policy takes effect. Transportation may refuse to allow a development until the required improvements are constructed. If the construction is in Transportation’s three year business plan horizon, the Province will pay for the construction. If the project is not in their horizon, the policy states whether the municipality, the developer, or both pay for the upgrades.
Since the Transportation formula for their business plan is based on traffic volumes dictating need, larger centres with quickly growing populations are always on the horizon. Municipalities that have close proximity to the highway with a smaller population do not make it into the forefront, therefore placing the upgrade costs on the municipality and/or the developer. In addition, smaller municipalities along the highways do not have the population/taxation base that larger centres have in order to raise the funds. This lack of differentiation between circumstances has caused an inequitable disbursement of Provincial assistance for the funding of improvements that are deemed necessary by Transportation.
The Minister acknowledged that AUMA was working with the Provincial Highway Connections Working Group and that we had raised this issue there. He said he would consider the issues as part of the report that will come out of the working group.
- AUMA has been actively engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Transportation and our partners from RMA and BILD to address issues with Highway Connectors. Our feedback was being prepared and sent to the Minister prior to the election, we anticipate this work will resume now that the election has ended.