According to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Alberta is coming to the end of a “long, dark night,” following the federal government’s decision to approve the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion. The pipeline expansion promises a boost to the province’s beleaguered oil sands industry, and for engineering companies that design the industry’s plants and infrastructure.
The Kinder Morgan project is to build a second pipeline roughly parallel to an existing one in order to transport bitumen from Edmonton to port in Burnaby, east of Vancouver. From there the material can be exported to the U.S. and Asia. The $6.8-billion new pipeline will require 12 new pressure stations and will increase the capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to almost 900,000. The federal government gave approval on November 29 to the project, but with 157 binding conditions.
In a statement on November 29, Notley said: “Our province has been brutally slammed by the collapse in commodity prices. It has been a long, dark night for the people of Alberta as a result. Today we are finally seeing some morning light. We are getting a chance to break our landlock. We’re getting a chance to sell to China and other new markets at better prices. We’re getting a chance to reduce our dependence on one market, and therefore to be more economically independent. And we’re getting a chance to pick ourselves up and move forward again.”
She also said the province has not abandoned its environmental mandate: “We are getting out of coal by 2030. We are implementing an emissions cap in the oil sands. And we will all be phasing in a $50 carbon levy to help reduce emissions and to help finance a transition to a lower-carbon economy.”
The province is also getting a boost to its economy with infrastructure spending. On December 3 the federal and Alberta governments announced a total of $500 million in funding for new transit projects.
A good portion of the $500 million is for new bus fleets and technology, but the list of newly approved projects also includes capital projects such as $138 million for early works for the Green Line LRT in Calgary, $32 million for phase 2 and 3 of an intelligent transportation system in Fort McMurray (Regional Municipality of Buffalo), and $12 million for a Park n’Ride transit terminal in Lethbridge.
The federal government will provide $347 million of the $500 million under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, while the government of Alberta and the municipalities will provide the balance.
For more details about the projects, click here.