Town of Vegreville Wants Gas Tax Funds Doubled

Town of Vegreville Wants Gas Tax Funds Doubled

Michelle Pinon
News Advertiser

A growing list of municipalities are lobbying for the federal government to double its annual gas tax allocation in order to get infrastructure projects on-stream in 2020.

The Town of Vegreville will be adding its voice, after Coun. Taneen Rudyk asked her counterparts if they wanted to support this request during its June 22 meeting, to express the importance of having additional funds to begin infrastructure projects during the 2020 construction season.

Coun. Rudyk said other municipalities are already bending the ear of Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs and calling for the doubling of the gas tax allocation as emergency one-time infrastructure funding. “Last year there was the one-time doubling of the gas tax. For us it mean’t we completed an infrastructure project I believe would have been delayed quite a while. It did stimulate some growth in the local economy.”

Coun. Ann Waters agreed they should make the attempt to receive additional funds. Mayor Tim MacPhee said it would be an appropriate time to make the request because of the impact Covid-19 is having on communities.

“There is a lot of money that’s getting doled out there, and where it ends up or should end up is on infrastructure or stuff that counts to municipalities, may be not so much some of the directions the money is flowing today,” stated MacPhee.

Paul Casey, Corporate Services Director for the Town of Vegreville, said the town receives an allocation of Gas Tax Funds on an annual basis and applies those funds to its capitals works projects. “The current year allocation of $326,507 is allocated reconstruction of 48th Ave from 52 Street to 53 Street which will be completed this year. The amount received varies each year. The current year allocation has nothing to do with 2019 projects and is budgeted to be used on 2020 Capital Works Projects.

In 2019, the Gas Tax Fund allocation was $645,007 and was used for work related to 3 projects: Laneway Stormwater Upgrades for the laneway between 49Th Ave and 50th Ave from 49 street to 47A street; Complete road reconstruction of 62 street from Hwy Ave to Industrial Ave; and Reconstruction of 47A street from 49 Ave to 50 Ave and from 47A Street to 50th Ave.”

Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu stated in a June 10 letter to Mayor MacPhee, “In these extraordinarily difficult times, Alberta remains committed to working with the federal government to ensure infrastructure funding continues to flow to Alberta communities. Recognizing the urgency for local government funding and the critical role of communities in the relaunch of the economy, the federal government has recently confirmed that $244 million will be provided to our province in 2020 under the Gas Tax Fund.”