The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is pleased by the recognition of rural issues in today’s Speech from the Throne. Infrastructure investment to support our growing economy, rail level of service, and international trade are some of the key issues rural municipalities (RM) face and they were all highlighted in the Throne Speech today.
One of the biggest challenges for RMs is how to address the cost of maintaining and improving road infrastructure vital to the growth of natural resource industries, manufacturing companies, and agriculture in rural Saskatchewan. “The cost associated with the construction and upgrade of local road infrastructure is substantial so the more contributors to such projects the more feasible those projects become for RMs to complete,” said SARM President David Marit. “We will work with the Province to develop public-private partnerships (P3) to better utilize government funding by securing investment from the private sector for infrastructure that it needs to increase its profits and subsequently job creation.”
The Province reiterated its commitment of a record revenue sharing amount to municipalities of $265 million in next year’s budget. “The continued rise in the revenue sharing pool is a demonstration of a booming provincial economy. Municipalities across the province will be able to use this funding to help address some local issues,” said President Marit.
SARM has also been actively advocating for better rural access to broadband, as it ensures expanded economic, healthcare and education opportunities. “Rural residents, businesses and farming operations will greatly benefit from SaskTel’s commitment to double internet speed in 220 rural communities and improve cell phone service in over 100 others,” said Marit.
SARM is also encouraged by the Province’s continued commitment to free trade. “The movement of Saskatchewan products across borders is vital to the growth of our economy. We’re glad that the Province reaffirmed its support of the Comprehensive European Trade Agreement (CETA) and reducing international trade barriers such as the U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) regulations,” concluded President Marit.
Among the announcements made today, SARM is also pleased with the reintroduction and expansion of the Saskatchewan Infrastructure Growth Initiative (SIGI) which will provide interest rate subsidies on municipal borrowing for infrastructure development and other innovative initiatives aimed at bettering access to healthcare in rural. “We’re also glad to hear that the Province will continue to make rail capacity a priority,” concluded Marit.
For more information contact:
David Marit Jay Meyer
President Executive Director
(306) 476-7754 (306) 761-3721
“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”