City budget, MI service delivery review on MHCA radar
MHCA takes street repair concerns to Winnipeg budget working group
The MHCA is ensuring the council working group mulling options for Winnipeg’s 2020 Capital Budget hears the industry concerns about the cuts to the local street repair program.
“Last year, the local street renewal budget was all but gutted by city council, rescued by a last-minute injection of federal funds,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc says.
Winnipeggers need assurance council will make good on its promise in last year’s budget talks to put the remaining funds from Ottawa’s $44-million gas-tax revenues to local streets, Lorenc stressed.
“We cannot see another year of a stripped-down street repair program – all Winnipeggers, whether they walk, cycle, ride the bus or drive, see that every time they head out, onto their neighbourhood streets.”
The association concern also lies in the fact council has decided the 2% annual tax, implemented expressly to fund street repairs, can now be used for bridges. One year’s worth of bridge work can consume all of the new revenue raised annually from the dedicated street repair tax.
At the provincial level, Manitoba Infrastructure is progressing on the service-delivery review, which intends to move maintenance work now done by the government to the private sector.
The department has consulted the association on proposals. The industry wants to see a plan that is workable, clear in the scope of service and reflects the realities of the risk being assumed by the industry.
“Private operators work in a very tight, competitive environment and must allow for the assumption of risk in any contract. Even after that element of risk is accommodated, we know there is proven value for government using the private sector to do what it does best,” Lorenc noted.