EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta’s two largest cities will continue to receive five cents per litre in fuel taxes, despite last week’s budget announcement calling for a reduction to 1.2 cents per litre.
The change of heart came yesterday, after Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier and Edmonton Mayor Bill Smith met with Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and Transportation Minister Ed Stelmach.
The mayors were outraged after last Tuesday’s budget called for fuel tax reductions to the cities, which would cost each city hundreds of millions of dollars that was earmarked for transportation spending. Calgary had already put 16 major road projects on hold in anticipation of the $400-million shortfall.
However both mayors are now lauding the government after its decision to stand by the original fuel tax sharing agreement signed two years ago.
“There’s no question about it, the premier supports infrastructure being built in this city,” says Bronconnier. “He stands by the agreement signed by his government two years ago.”
Stelmach says that if the province finds itself struggling financially, the agreement could once again be scrutinized. He also insisted the move wasn’t a flip-flop, but that the agreement was re-instated after the province realized there was more money left over than originally thought.
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