Municipalities call in full force for restored infrastructure budget
More than 100 of Manitoba’s municipal governments have endorsed a joint call for the provincial government to reinstate the Municipal Road and Bridge Program. The vote on the resolution was passed at the Association of Manitoba Municipalities’ 20th Annual Convention this week.
“In June 2018, the Province of Manitoba announced that it is proceeding with plans to terminate the Municipal Road and Bridge Program,” the AMM said in a news release Tuesday. In 2017, the program made $14 million available to municipalities. This year, the fund was cut to $2.25 million.
“Municipal road and bridge infrastructure is essential for a better Manitoba,” stated Chris Goertzen, AMM President. “This program has very little red tape, which makes it an efficient way for municipalities to partner with the provincial government to build much-needed infrastructure in local communities across our province.”
AMM members voted for a resolution calling on the provincial government “to not proceed with plans to transition the Municipal Road and Bridge Program into the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and fully reinstate the former funding levels for this essential municipal program.”
The vote came a day after Premier Brian Pallister addressed the convention, telling the municipalities their request for revenue sharing from taxes on legalized marijuana sales was a no-go.
A number of municipalities had already set their road and bridge budgets for 2018, prior to the province’s announcement funding was being slashed.
“We join with the AMM in supporting restoration of core infrastructure investment by the provincial government,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.
“We understand the need to cut expenditures and support the government in its efforts to achieve fiscal balance, but there must be real balance – we need to see provincial revenues used to grow the economy and there’s no doubt that strong core infrastructure investment helps grow the economy.”
The convention also saw the AMM Cities Caucus elect Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson as its new Chair.