Fix Our Roads!
Our highways and urban streets are decaying, rapidly.
The decay is compounded by the fact neither the province nor the municipalities are investing enough in our transportation assets, to pull out of what is called an infrastructure gap – the difference between what we invest annually in roads and what is needed, to bring them to good condition.
- Manitoba’s infrastructure gap is $9 billion – highways and bridges.
- Winnipeg’s infrastructure gap is $3 billion – roads, streets and bridges.
- Manitoba’s total municipal infrastructure gap is $11 billion.
We should be investing more, incrementally, each year to fill the gap – the sinkhole that our infrastructure investment deficit has become. We don’t need “pothole memes” as an embarrassing metaphor for the state of our infrastructure.
How did we get here?
Manitoba’s Budget 2019 sets the Highways Capital program at $350 million, that’s $150 million less than what was promised when the Progressive Conservatives were elected in 2016. Read the Budget 2019 story.
Click here to read a synopsis of the Budget 2019’s funding for core infrastructure.
- Defending our economy
- Broken promises
- Promises made promises broken
- Have you heard?
- Keep your promise
Winnipeg’s residential streets took a huge hit this year, when City Council gutted the local street repair budget in a funding dispute with the provincial government.
The City is awaiting $40 million owed it from the just expired, five-year Manitoba Roads agreement, for work completed in 2018. Further, the province has not renewed the five-year roads agreement, meaning Winnipeg is out a forecasted $174 million from 2019-2024.
How did we get here?
December, 2017 Winnipeg City Council approves a 2018 capital budget that invests $116 million in local and residential streets. At the same time, that budget plan is shared with the province. The plan includes provincial dollars for Winnipeg roads, under a five-year funding agreement. Through the following months, the city seeks payment from the provincial roads agreement.
January, 2019 City of Winnipeg receives official letter from Broadway, indicating the provincial government does not agree it still owes $40 million, under a provincial roads funding agreement.
This triggers a series of budget votes in March 2019.
March 1 Mayor Brian Bowman and Finance Committee Chair Scott Gillingham table the 2019 preliminary budget. That budget shows the city will spread the $40-million shortfall from the 2018 roads program evenly over 2019 and 2020. In addition, the province has not renewed the roads agreement, a five-year deal that would have seen another $28 million invested on residential streets in 2019, alone.
March 7 Councillors learn all 53 residential street projects planned for 2019 and 11 lanes have been canceled. Some repaving will be done, but no significant repairs to residential streets.
March 19 City council approves 2019 Capital and Operating Budget, axing $40 million+ from the local street repair program.
March 25 City Council votes to restore $19.25 million for local streets repair, from the $44 million of surprise federal gas-tax top-up funding for 2019. That means 34 of the 53 street projects initially canceled will be tendered.
The MHCA to Winnipeg
It is irresponsible for City Council to eliminate residential street work this year, effectively putting Winnipeggers in the middle of a political funding dispute. Winnipeggers pay their taxes – 2% dedicated tax is levied each year, 1% for local streets and 1% for regional streets to fix their crumbling streets. Every budget has elasticity and contingency; find the funds to #FixOurRoads. Rally Winnipeggers to pressure Broadway to live up to the roads funding deal.
The MHCA to Manitoba
Make good on your commitments. Make Winnipeg whole for the $40 million owed.
Further, fulfill your obligation and renew the five-year roads funding agreement. The city cannot alone raise the revenues needed to maintain roads — the foundation of our trade-dependent economy. Municipalities do not have the financial resources or capacity to shoulder the burden of public infrastructure on their own. Municipalities collect just 8 cents of every tax dollar.
Make infrastructure a priority
Since 2016, the provincial government has reduced investment in core infrastructure by $421 million, in budget cuts for highways, municipal roads and bridges and land drainage.
You can’t cut your way to prosperity
– MHCA President Chris Lorenc
Presentation to City Council
On March 20th Chris Lorenc appeared in front of City Council – read the presentation
Winnipeg eliminates residential street work in funding spat with province
MHCA to City Council: find a better Plan ‘B’
MHCA President Chris Lorenc told City Council’s executive policy committee this week Winnipeg cannot simply eliminate all residential street work for 2019, in response to the provincial government’s shortchanging the city on the cost-shared roads agreement last year. [keep reading]
No residential street work for Winnipeg in 2019? How is that possible?
MHCA pushes back on provincial short-changing, City of Winnipeg budget cuts
The MHCA has called upon Mayor Brian Bowman and City Council to restore planned investment in the local street renewal program for 2019, and future years, despite the provincial government’s reneging on funding commitments. That provincial decision shortchanged the city by $40 million in the 2018 local and regional street renewal budget, and would pull as much as $174 million from the city’s planning for street repairs, from 2019-2024. [keep reading]
Winnipeg approves budget, eliminates 53 street repair projects
Winnipeg city council approved its Budget 2019 Wednesday, eliminating all significant residential street repairs. That cancels 53 street and 11 lane projects that were planned for 2019. [keep reading]
A bumpy compromise: Winnipeg puts gas tax top-up cash to local street budget
Winnipeg City Council voted on April 25 to allocate the bulk of the $43.9 million it is expecting from the federal gas-tax windfall toward the local streets program which was gutted in the city’s recently approved Operating and Capital budget. [keep reading]
Meanwhile, in Ontario and Saskatchewan, provincial governments have announced their economic plans ride on significant investments in infrastructure:
“When we invest in smart infrastructure, we create jobs and grow the economy, shaping the future for hard-working families in Ontario. Our province is open for business and open for jobs.”
“Our government is creating safer, and more fluid travel for people who travel on Saskatchewan’s highway network. This work will help local businesses compete, promote a higher quality of life for residents and support the long term economic prosperity of this province.” [keep reading]
And from our stakeholder partner associations, more concern about the city’s cuts to residential street works this year and the Winnipeg-Manitoba dispute. [keep reading]
Transportation Infrastructure Reports:
Read about the vital link between efficient, connected trade transportation infrastructure and economic health.
- From the Ground Up: The role of local governments in building Canada’s economic infrastructure network
- Pathways: Connecting Canada’s transportation system to the world
- The Infrastructure that matters most: The need for investment in Canada’s trade infrastructure
- New relationships: a new order. A balanced approach to funding municipal infrastructure in Manitoba
- Strategic infrastructure reinvestment policy
- City of Winnipeg 2018 State of the Infrastructure Report