Alberta premier warns Opposition United Conservatives eyeing toll roads

EDMONTON — Premier Rachel Notley says Opposition Leader Jason Kenney’s plan to build user-pay 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.”

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.”

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.

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