EDMONTON, Alta. – Alberta may be asking oilsands companies to build highways which would offset parts of the royalty payments that are made to the province.
The idea was floated by human resources minister Mike Cardinal and premier Ralph Klein was intrigued by the proposal.
“Right now a new project under the rules pays one per cent in royalties until the project is capitalized,” Klein told local media.
“The notion that was presented by Cardinal was to include roads in that and that is interesting. That is an interesting proposal to get needed infrastructure in place and we’ll consider that. It’s a way to get infrastructure on stream.”
Predictably, the plan immediately came under fire from the Opposition Liberals.
“The best thing that the government could do is ensure that the highway to Fort McMurray is safe and can handle large volumes of freight on it,” Liberal Hugh MacDonald told reporters.
“Energy companies don’t usually build roads, governments do. It’s the government’s responsibility. We shouldn’t pass the buck. The generous tax incentives have attracted the investment and now, as a result of that investment, it’s up to the government to improve the highway system.”
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