Premier Rachel Notley says Opposition Leader Jason Kenney’s plan to build more infrastructure if his party is elected can mean only one thing: tolls on roads.
In a speech to energy producers in Edmonton, Notley suggested that recent comments by Kenney lauding user-pay infrastructure can only mean he would bring in tolls for drivers.
She said that would affect everything from industrial users to families driving to the store on weekends to go shopping.
Notley said tolls are not the way to go, and if the United Conservative leader is not proposing them, he should specify what he means by user-pay.
Kenney’s caucus dismissed Notley’s comments.
It said in a statement that the United Conservatives have never suggested tolls for existing infrastructure.
“This is more fearmongering from an NDP unable to run on its own record,” said the statement from UCP spokeswoman Christine Myatt.
“Thanks to the fiscal disaster left by an NDP government that has put the province on track for $100 billion in debt, we need to find new and creative approaches for needed industrial infrastructure.”
“Why not more public-private partnerships in infrastructure and even, where necessary, user-pay?” Kenney asked on Nov. 14, 2018, addressing the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.
“Why not follow the lead of other jurisdictions from Asia and Europe to across Canada to finding more efficient ways to deliver public services?”
Myatt told Global News on Thursday that Kenney was floating an idea as an innovative way to pay for new infrastructure that Alberta desperately needs but can’t afford. She said the concept hasn’t been developed and wouldn’t be until the UCP becomes government, if elected.
WATCH BELOW: Alberta’s spring election has yet to be called but it would seem the race is on. Thursday, Premier Rachel Notley accused Jason Kenney of contemplating toll roads. Fletcher Kent reports.
Notley said in her speech that tolls would have far-reaching effects.
“Tolls when you ship your equipment from places like Leduc to the (Industrial) Heartland. Tolls when workers commute, (and) tolls on the weekend when you head to Costco, to soccer, to anywhere,” she said.
“I will say no to tolls every time, and I would say to the Opposition that they need to come clean about what their plan to toll your roads is going to cost you, your family and your businesses.”
Myatt stressed the user-pay idea would be for industrial infrastructure, not public projects, and that the idea that family soccer runs would have to pay a toll is “out to lunch.”
The economy and how to spur investment in Alberta’s core oil and gas industry are expected to be front and centre in the spring election.
Kenney’s party has said that Notley’s government has made a downturn in the oilpatch worse with regulations and extra fees such as a carbon tax.
Notley’s government has rolled out economic indicators showing that the economy is turning around, and says Kenney would bring in economic austerity measures that would stall future progress.
— With files from Emily Mertz, Global News
WATCH BELOW: A new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News suggests there’s support in the province for such a measure but that support lies predominantly in the GTA (June 4, 2018).