One Airdrie-Cochrane UCP candidate is taking her commitment to Cochrane’s traffic congestion problems door-to-door. Mauri Stiff launched her petition and letter-writing campaign last week – seeking signatures and shareholder support to pen letters to the province to advocate the provincial government allocate funding in the next budget for the long-awaited interchange project at highways 1A/22. “I want to be more than a voice – I’m going to do something about it ... I think that’s what advocacy means,” said Stiff, an Airdrie resident, realtor and mother of two. Stiff’s research led her to only be assured that the project, flagged to cost “between $40 million and $50 million” has only been funded through its design phase, though slated for completion next spring. While the 2017 spring announcement by NDP Minister of Transportation Brian Mason indicated construction would begin in 2019 and take “two to three years” the province is yet to confirm that the project will be funded next year and construction will commence. Win or lose the nomination, Stiff will ensure the petition – which has been vetted by the parliamentary committee - will make its way to the legislature. Stiff is concerned that the interchange project – which officially hit the government books in 2004 – could wind up unfunded. “Cochrane could lose it, based on the politics,” she said, adding that with the split of the riding and Cochrane now being the centre of a largely conservative base, she could see the NDP focusing on spending dollars where they have support. On the flipside, if the UCP is elected, she is concerned the project could also fall down the list of 87 ridings with mostly new MLAs making “a lot of noise” and “looking to make their marks.” While UCP candidates are campaigning on bringing in a balanced budget, and are critical of NDP spending, Stiff maintains that a safety-first principle must be applied and that the interchange “shouldn’t and can’t be ignored any longer.” The interchange project includes converting Highway 1A to four, divided lanes; construction of an interchange with free-flow traffic on Highway 1A; replacement of the bridge structure carrying Highway 22 over CP railway; replacement and twinning of the bridge structure carrying Highway 1A over Big Hill Creek; and the addition of ramps to access both highways. Stiff is one of five candidates looking to represent the new riding under the provincial conservative banner; learn more at mauristiff.ca. Also in the running for the Airdrie-Cochrane UCP ticket is town councillor Morgan Nagle, businessman Peter Guthrie, nurse Laura Talsma and Airdrie businessman Ian Chitwood. Stiff’s petition has so far garnered more than 200 signatures.