Time to push ahead on S.W. ring road deal, Redford says
‘This will not be a never-ending process,’ premier vows
By Clara Ho, Calgary Herald November 13, 2011 8:16 AM
CALGARY — Premier Alison Redford made it clear she wants to see a resolution to the drawn-out southwest ring road debate, a project that politicians and Tsuu T’ina leaders have been working for decades to complete.
A new expressway loop around the city would put an end to traffic snarls that have long plagued commuters — and after more than 40 years of discussions on both sides to hammer out a deal, Redford said it’s time to push ahead.
“We need to move on,” Redford told the Calgary Herald editorial board earlier this week. “This will not be a never-ending process,” she said.
An agreement was tantalizingly close in 2009 but collapsed after it was rejected by band members in a referendum.
Negotiations resumed this summer, reigniting hopes the project would finally be completed. But an end of September deadline for a Tsuu T’ina vote slipped by with no resolution.
Redford said she hopes a deal can be reached to satisfy the provincial government, the City of Calgary and the Tsuu T’ina Nation.
“The former premier was very optimistic he could get it done before (he stepped down Oct. 1). I just don’t know quite where Tsuu T’ina is right now,” she said.
During the Tory leadership race, Redford suggested the best option for the southwest portion of the ring road around Calgary was through Tsuu T’ina land.
But she noted that the second best option was expanding Highways 22 and 22X to Highway 1, along with Highway 8, to move traffic around the city.
She also indicated she did not support the five alternative routes put forth by Alberta Transportation, which would have the southwest portion of the road run through the city.
Redford did not divulge whether she had a time frame in mind before strongly considering her second-best option, adding that she plans to sit with Transportation Minister Ray Danyluk and get his assessment first.
The cost to undertake her top two ring road options “are not that dissimilar,” she said.
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