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Fix Our Roads!

With the return of the Progressive Conservatives to government September 10, the MHCA is urging the province to start anew, rethink and rework the approach to core infrastructure investment. Manitoba needs a sustainable, multi-year plan to address our multibillion-dollar infrastructure investment gaps and move our province – and its municipalities – into a stronger, global trade position.

Elements of a Manitoba ‘highways & trade transportation’ investment planread more

 Municipal core infrastructure investment – a shared and balanced responsibilityread more


The MHCA asked the three main provincial parties about their commitments to investing in core infrastructure, should they form government September 10. Here are the responses from each party:

Manitoba Votes 2019 – make infrastructure a priority

Trade is foundation of Manitoba’s economy, but trade can’t move without strong, reliable roads. This election, MHCA calls upon all parties to make strategic, sustainable infrastructure investment a priority of their campaign platforms

  • Infrastructure – the wise investment
    The MHCA has called upon all party leaders to answer key questions about their views and party positions on core infrastructure investment. We’ve asked them to respond by August 26 and will make those answers public. Read our Q&A here.
  • Highways budget cuts – impairing economic growth
    In the 2016 provincial election and post-election, the Progressive Conservatives publicly committed to keeping the highways budget at a minimum of $500 million annually for strong economic growth. Since 2016, Manitoba’s highways have seen a total $326 million in budget cuts and under-expenditures. Review the numbers
  • The economic case for strong infrastructure investment
    Public opinion polls show consistently that Manitobans consider infrastructure a top public policy priority – they want their highways and roads in good shape. Infrastructure investment delivers amongst the highest economic returns, repeat economic analyses have shown. Read the findings of two such reports here and here.
  • Reframing infrastructure investment to grow our economy
    MHCA advocates for infrastructure investment in keeping with the public’s best interest – an investment strategy that lays out how to maintain existing and build new core infrastructure that Manitoba needs to boost trade and meet the needs of a growing population. Read MHCA President Chris Lorenc’s letter to the Province of Manitoba, calling for a comprehensive review of how investment is done now and how it should be reframed
  • Farmers need reliable roads to get their product to market
    Bad roads are forcing Manitoba’s farmers are having to go further or change their destinations in getting their grain and produce to market. That increases their costs, and the price of groceries for Manitoba families. Read the recent statement by Keystone Agricultural Producers
  • Growing the Economy – More to be Done
    MHCA joins 9 other leading business organizations to press provincial parties to make growing our economy their No. 1 priority this election campaign. Read the 7 Pillars for Growing Manitoba’s Economy
  • “Infrastructure is critical”: Richard Cloutier interviews Group of 10 business leaders on how to grow Manitoba’s economy with #7Pillars. Listen here

 

 

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.

 

For the record – a review of roads funding decisions

Manitoba

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.  

MHCA’s FixOurRoads gives the goods on ‘promises made/promises broken’ record of the provincial government on highways/infrastructure investment, since 2016.

 

Winnipeg

sinkhole on Pacific Avenue

                                                                       Photo Credit: Daniel Crump        A sinkhole opened on Pacific Avenue in early April. City councillors say constituents have made it known local street repairs is their priority. 

 

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.”  
[keep reading]

“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. 

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