Sustainability Fund better spent investing in infrastructure, Taft says


« The Sustainability Fund was put in place because the Alberta Liberals pushed for it.»




And the ring road chronicles roll on.

Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft pledged $800 million for the completion of the southwest ring road at a Calgary campaign stop Sunday, once again bringing to the forefront an issue of contention in the city.

The funding will come from the province’s $7.7 billion Sustainability Fund set aside for natural disaster relief and Taft said it could be better used in the improvement of city infrastructure rather than as a Conservative slush fund.

"The Sustainability Fund was put in place because the Alberta Liberals pushed for it," Taft said from the corner of Glenmore Trail and 37 St SW, adjacent to the Tsuu T'ina First Nation.

"It was put in place as a $2.5 billion fund to compensate for the highs and lows in government revenues.

"The Tories bloated this fund up to almost $8 billion and they’re using it as a slush fund"

Taft vowed the Alberta Grits would not use it as a slush fund, instead pledging to "put that $7.5 billion to work for the people of Alberta, the priorities they want," adding that they weren’t going to do it as a part of winning votes on the campaign trail.

The Alberta Liberals’ plan for the ring road was initially announced Friday as part of their commitment to working more closely with cities and their intention to provide more secure and predictable funding for public infrastructure.

The Liberals have long said the Conservative government has dragged its heels in getting the ring road completed, dogged by a stall in talk with the Tsuu T’ina Nation.

In Edmonton yesterday, New Democrat Leader Brian Mason promised to roll-back post-secondary education tuition to 2000 levels, cap interest rates on student loans at prime and invest $100 million in student housing.

"Post-secondary training is increasingly necessary in today’s economy," said Mason in a release.

"Regular families have enough to worry about with auto insurance, utility bills and housing costs without having to struggle to finance their children’s education."

Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach was in his home riding yesterday, and today he will be touring throughout Calgary with several meet and greet opportunities.