Municipalities to Receive $25.7 Million in Support Through Rural Integrated Roads for Growth Program
The Government of Saskatchewan is continuing to invest in the improvement of rural roads through its Rural Integrated Roads for Growth (RIRG) program. Phase three, taking place during the 2021-22 budget year, will see 69 rural municipalities (RMs) receive $25.7 million in RIRG funding.
"The ministry has seen an engaged and enthusiastic response to the RIRG program," Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said. "This targeted effort improves the safety and quality of our rural infrastructure, strengthens partnerships with Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, our rural municipalities and creates another outlet to aid the province's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic."
This program helps RMs with the cost of constructing and upgrading their infrastructure, which in turn helps support local industries like agriculture, energy and forestry. The RIRG grants cover up to 50 per cent of each project's total cost, to a maximum of $500,000.
"The announcement of expanded financial support for rural road infrastructure is greatly appreciated," Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities President Ray Orb said. "Economic recovery and funding to stimulate the provincial economy remains critical and this increased funding ensures our rural municipalities can contribute by investing in rural infrastructure that is supporting Saskatchewan's rural-based industries."
The 2021-22 RIRG budget is $28 million, which includes base funding of $15 million a year. The budget is augmented by additional stimulus spending, which was brought in to help the government reach its goal of re-building 100 roads over three years.
Over the three phases of the RIRG program, there have been 219 road projects approved, valued at $233.6 million with $55.5 million in RIRG support. This includes 63 projects from Phases 1 and 2 that are currently active, valued at $72.3 million with $19.6 million in RIRG support.
The Government of Saskatchewan is improving more than 1,350 km of provincial highways this year, the second of its 10-year Growth Plan goal to build and upgrade 10,000 km of highways. With this year's projects, the province is ahead of the pace needed to meet this target at 2,350 km improved.
Since 2008, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested more than $10.6 billion in highways infrastructure, improving more than 17,100 km of Saskatchewan highways. Another $300 million in highways stimulus funds is being invested over several years in thin-membrane surface upgrades, passing lanes and improvements to municipal roads and airports.