By Cole Parkinson
The time has come once again for the Municipal District of Taber to submit a list of items for Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) funding.
A total of nine items are on the list for M.D. STIP funding and they were all brought forward to council at their regular meeting on Nov. 5 for approval.
On the list for the coming year, STIP funding projects are Bridge File 80401, BF 90190, BF 80118, 80175, Taber Airport runway extension, Taber Airport apron expansion, Vauxhall Airport apron expansion, BF 80181 and BF 80186 girder replacement/overlay and a group of bridges for removal.
“With the provincial budget coming out, and with STIP still being funded, it was presented at the public works committee meeting, the proposed STIP applications for the 2020 year,” explained Craig Pittman, director of Infrastructure. “The top seven (bridge applications) are re-submittals to the government while the bottom two are new. I estimate to get those two together it will be about 30 hours of my time with the deadline of November 30.”
The M.D. has applied for funding using the STIP program in 2017, 2018 and 2019, which led to successfully receiving funding for seven bridge files, two removals and five replacements.
During this process, the M.D. was unsuccessful in receiving funding for four bridges (BF 80180, BF 80175, BF 80401 and BF 80118) as well as the three listed airport projects.
For bridge-related work, the M.D. is required to contribute 25 per cent of the total cost of the project while airport-related work is 50 per cent of the total cost of the project.
Costs for the bridge projects are:
BF 80401 total is $300,972 — STIP ($225,729) and M.D. ($75,243), BF 80180 total is $1,107,361 — STIP ($830,520.75) and M.D. ($276,840.25), BF 80118 total is $1,109,953 — STIP ($832,464.75) and M.D. ($277,488.25), BF80175 total is $1,126,073 — STIP ($844,545.75) and M.D. ($281,518.25) and BF 80186 girder replacement/overlay and group of bridges for removal have costs estimated through completion of the application.
Costs for the airports are as follows:
The 310 metre Taber Airport extension total is $950,000 — STIP and M.D. ($475,000 each), Taber Airport apron expansion total is $1,036,767.04 — STIP and M.D. ($518,383.52 each) and Vauxhall Airport apron expansion total is $192,099.60 — STIP and M.D. ($96,049.80 each).
While council was more than willing to submit the bridge files again, they were worried about coming up with the required funding if they were approved for any of the airport projects.
“If we got funding for them (airport runways) it would be hard to justify spending on that when there are other roads,” said Coun. Brian Brewin.
Council also inquired about if they could decline the STIP funding if they submitted and were approved for the airport projects.
“Nothing is locked in stone, I suppose until you sign the agreement. There would be a STIP agreement that would be signed by the minister of transportation and the reeve of the M.D. of Taber,” replied Pittman. “It may reflect poorly but I don’t think you are locked into any agreement until you sign.”
With around $1 million being needed for airport projects by the M.D. council expressed the opinion they would need to find some help on the financial side.
“If we were successful, I think we would have to approach a few people to see if they were willing to help out, the users,” said Reeve Merrill Harris.