FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – NDP Leader Rachel Notley is promising to spend $1.4 billion to expand Alberta’s network of roads that handle large and oversized loads.
Notley says the current 6,500-kilometre network is recognized as one of the best in North America, but more needs to be done.
She says a re-elected NDP government would work to increase the network to cover 10,000 kilometres over the next six years.
Notley says loads such as oil and gas equipment and prefabricated houses would move much faster, saving time and money.
It was one of two new NDP platform announcements in Fort McMurray today ahead of the April 16 election.
Notley is also committing to build a secondary highway out of the oilsands city to ease congestion and to give residents an alternative escape route in an emergency.
She says people will never forget how residents were forced to flee down Highway 63 through a tunnel of flames as a raging forest fire torched parts of the municipality in 2016.
The opposition United Conservatives have said they would explore user-pay initiatives, such as tolls, to help pay for new industrial infrastructure such as heavy-load roads.
The UCP has said it wouldn’t toll existing infrastructure.
The party has said with the provincial debt climbing to close to $60 billion, the government has to look at other financing options.
Notley reiterated Wednesday that an NDP government will not pass the costs on to road users.
“We’re going to keep Alberta toll-free,” said Notley.
— By Dean Bennett in Edmonton