Hinton and Yellowhead County receive Gas Tax funds

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Hinton and Yellowhead County both received federal funds for infrastructure priorities across a wide range of categories.

Alberta received $244M through the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) for the 2020–21 fiscal year to fund its most pressing infrastructure needs, announced Catherine McKenna, Infrastructure and Communities Minister, on June 11.

Yellowhead County is receiving $628,933 this year while Hinton is receiving $565,267. Yellowhead County and Hinton have consistently received GTF funding. 

The funds dispensed through the GTF originally came from revenues raised by the federal gasoline excise tax and the fund was launched in the federal Budget 2005.

While the 2020 GTF applications have not been approved yet by the provincial department, Yellowhead County allocated this year’s GTF to the Long Lake Road project through their budget process.

According to GTF annual reports by the provincial government, Yellowhead County spent $1,691,118 on a project titled “Niton North Road Base/Pave from Township Road Rd 543 to Hwy 751” in 2014, and $548,816 on a project titled “Long Lake Road Upgrade” in 2015.

In those same years, the Town of Hinton spent $523,890 on the Innovista Industrial Park Water Service Upgrade and $505,357 on the Innovista Water Installation.

The only reports available cover the 2014 and 2015 calendar years. 

The Town of Hinton did not respond before The Voice press deadline with info on what their GTF will be allocated to this year.

The federal GTF is a long-term, indexed source of funding for communities across the country. 

Projects eligible for the GTF fall under 18 categories, including public transit, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, solid waste management, community energy systems, local roads and bridges, capacity building, highways, airports, short-line rail, short-sea shipping, disaster mitigation, broadband and connectivity, brownfield redevelopment, culture, recreation, tourism, and sports.

Communities can use the funds immediately for priority projects, bank them for later use, pool the dollars with other communities for shared infrastructure projects, or use them to finance major infrastructure expenditures.

In addition to the regular installments in 2019-2020, Alberta communities received a top-up to their funding, as announced in Budget 2019. This top-up was meant to accelerate progress and maximize every opportunity to ensure that communities across the country continue to see real and timely results in the renewal of public infrastructure.

“By enabling communities to plan for their current and future needs, and build or improve the infrastructure that will help them thrive through any circumstance, the GTF is a critical tool that will help ensure Alberta remains among the best places in the world to live for generations to come,” the province stated.