In light of the recent tragedy on Highway 63 I feel compelled to express my deepest concern for your complete ineptitude with twinning the highway. I travel Highway 63 every day to and from work and on occasion to Edmonton as well. I consider myself blessed that I avoided serious incidents on this roadway. Sadly, this past Friday 7 people were not so lucky and become more statistics of the so-called "Highway of Death" and a government that has a funny way of showing it has its citizens' best interests in mind.
Fort McMurray plays a vital role in the economy of not just Alberta but Canada as a whole. The city continues to grow a rapid pace and will only get bigger and the traffic will only become more congested in the future. Why then are we connected to the rest of the province by a mere two-lane highway? Your government announced that the twinning of the highway would be a priority and yet to date, only a measly few kilometres have been completed.
To be blunt, this is pathetic. Between 2001 and 2005 there were over 1000 vehicle collisions resulting in 25 fatalities and 257 injuries. In 2006 you announced that twinning of the highway would be a priority, probably because you were facing an election in 2008 would be my guess, and major infrastructure projects are always a good way to attract votes. As of 2009, a measly 16 km had been completed and according to the information I've seen, you plan to have another 36 km complete by 2013. Again, sad.
During the most recent election campaign we saw assurances that, once again, twinning Highway 63 would be a priority. Forgive me for being a little cynical but I can smell bullshit when I see it. The truth is that people here are growing tired....tired of an endless charade of excuses and red tape from getting the land freed up, to concerns over caribou to having the budget for it. I find this last one funny. The province gets something like $5 BILLION in royalties from oil and gas. Media sources I've seen report it would cost $1.1 billion to finish the highway. The money is there. Don't tell us it isn't. You just spend it like a bunch of drunken sailors on shore leave. (My apologies to sailors)
Dear Alberta Conservatives - you have been given a new mandate that frankly I don't think you deserve. I find it particularly sad that the party responsible for the lack of action in recent years on this vital piece of infrastructure has again been voted back in to power. Please, do your job and finish what you promised to do. Twin Highway 63. Fort McMurrayites are concerned, frustrated and DEMAND action. Fortunately for your sake I maintain, through sheer grit, a modicum of decorum which prevents me from explaining how I really feel about this truly despicable situation.
The voices of the victims cry out. Keep your promise. I don't want this to be a promise in the 2015 election. I want to see it dealt with. PLEASE, do the right thing. Twin Highway 63 now.
A passionate resident and supporter of Fort McMurray