The Future Of Alberta's Infrastructure Market

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On Thursday, April 25, Pete Guthrie—the Minister of Infrastructure of Alberta—provided some insight on the future of Alberta's infrastructure market.
Canada Government, Public Sector
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On Thursday, April 25, Pete Guthrie—the Minister of Infrastructure of Alberta—provided some insight on the future of Alberta's infrastructure market. The Minister focused on the advancements and improvements their team was trying to make as well as highlighting their focus on taking feedback from the industry, in particular with their unsolicited proposal framework (USP). 

In this discussion, the Minister highlighted the ministry's continued focus on their USP. USPs are defined as proposals submitted by private entities without an explicit request from the Government of Alberta. The Government focuses on whether the USP meets key principles, including whether the USP project conforms with one or more public needs, whether the project provides value for money, transparency and accountability. In his discussion, the Minister focused on the importance of transparency and accountability when reviewing USPs. Since the program is with a governmental entity, the Minister reiterated their responsibility to the public and that approval of USPs must reflect this responsibility. As such, while the Minister views the USP framework as an important way to get private sector innovation, they also need to protect public policy objectives. 

Last year the ministry completed amendments to their USP framework. These updates provided preponements of scope and evaluation projects to try and provide clarification and streamline higher quality submissions. In addition to last year's amendments, the ministry is trying to work on speeding up the process to respond to complaints about the speed of approvals of submissions. The main way they are attempting to speed up the process is by getting commitment from other ministers earlier on in the process, so they can put the project on their capital plans. This should further facilitate the USP process by reducing wait times for approvals by other ministries.

Overall, the Minister highlighted the innovation that USP frameworks bring to Alberta's infrastructure projects. This innovation helps the Ministry to support both the private and public sector while also giving them the best value for money.

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