As Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure, it has been an honour to work with the men and women who build our province. Alberta Infrastructure is responsible for building schools, hospitals, courthouses, and government facilities in every corner of the province, and acts and the landlord for all government buildings.
Alberta’s government is building vital public infrastructure with an eye to attracting private sector investment. Projects like the Calgary Cancer Centre, which remains on schedule and on budget, and the Gene Zwozdesky Centre (Norwood Redevelopment Project) in Edmonton saw significant construction progress in 2019-20. An additional 77 school projects are underway and helping to strengthen Alberta for families. Building public infrastructure generates good-paying construction and engineering jobs, and determine the programs and services government can provide.
Alberta Infrastructure is also helping get the province back on its feet following the COVID-19 pandemic and the global collapse of oil prices. Alberta’s Recovery Plan commits to $10 billion to infrastructure spending, creating jobs now while we face unprecedented unemployment. This is the largest infrastructure investment in the history of the province. Short term, it will alleviate some of the unemployment the province faces, while positioning the province to attract private sector investment down the road.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
As we continue to deliver vital projects, my ministry is also committed to doing its share to help the government meet its fiscal objectives by reducing our costs, cutting red tape and finding efficiencies in our daily operations. Through measured and practical solutions, we will achieve budget savings while maintaining our high standard of service to Albertans.
Moving forward, we will ensure federal infrastructure funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program continues to support the most critical and current needs of our province. I continue to work closely with my federal counterpart to ensure that provincially endorsed projects receive timely federal approvals so we see shovels in the ground and Albertans working. We will continue to explore public-private partnerships (P3s) for priority infrastructure projects and may use P3s when there is a solid business case and value for taxpayers’ money. A new Alberta Infrastructure Act is being developed that will outline how government will prioritize capital infrastructure spending, and we are developing the 20-Year Strategic Capital Plan that will help promote greater transparency and support longer-term planning of provincial infrastructure.
I am very proud of the way Alberta Infrastructure has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministry staff have ensured all proper cleaning and sanitization measures are in place at government buildings, stayed in close contact with our partners in industry to keep vital infrastructure projects progressing while meeting the new pandemic workplace guidelines. It is a testament to Albertans’ culture of workplace safety, that we have weathered this storm so well.
I head a professional, innovative and dedicated team at Alberta Infrastructure, and we are proud to work with our partner ministries, Alberta’s job creators, and industry, as we do our part in creating jobs, growing the economy and building for today and the future.
Our government is committed to showing the world that Alberta is open for business, and we are excited to do our part.
Prasad Panda served as the Minister of Infrastructure from April 30, 2019 to June 21, 2022.