Southwest ring road project gets $583M from Ottawa

Federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney announced nearly $583 million for Calgary's southwest ring road on Thursday.
Calgary MP Jason Kenney was in Calgary on Thursday to announce almost $583 million in federal funding for the southwest ring road. (CBC)

Calgary MP Jason Kenney announced nearly $583 million for Calgary's southwest ring road on Thursday.

The money will come from the $4-billion National Infrastructure Component of the New Building Canada Fund.

Kenney says the ring road is an important infrastructure project that will ease congestion, reduce travel times and improve safety.

The $5-billion ring road will stretch from Highway 22x up to Highway 8 along the city's western edge — skirting Tsuu T'ina First Nation territory and the southwest corner of the Weaselhead area — and then continue north using the 101st Street corridor through to the Trans-Canada Highway.

Mount Royal University political analyst Duane Bratt says it's clear an election is on its way.

"On the one hand you could dismiss Kenney's announcement as just another election ploy, just like the universal child care benefit," he said.

"But the fact that they dedicated such a large amount to the city of Calgary, I think election is in the air, and Calgary — parts of Calgary — may be in play."

There were a few other announcements of federal cash made in Calgary on Thursday.

Michelle Rempell, minister of state for western economic diversification, announced $9.9 million for the University of Calgary's new Western Canadian Microbiome Centre.

The state-of-the-art research centre will "help accelerate the commercialization of treatments, products, or processes that can fight diseases, increase food productivity, and develop new innovations for the energy and alternative energy sectors," the ministry said in a release.

And Justice Minister Peter MacKay was at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre to announce $160,000 in funding over two years.

"This financial support will allow the Centre to continue to develop leading practices and standards in the area of child abuse investigation by hiring and training one individual in the specialized area of child abuse forensic interviewing," the centre said in a release.

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