We need you to support the advocacy efforts of the MHCA associated with Winnipeg’s 2020 Local and Regional Streets Program. And we need you to engage well before the budget is tabled, which is expected to be February 15, 2020.
The MHCA is alarmed with the Local and Regional Street Renewal Program budget recommendations.
40% of Winnipeg streets are not in good condition and the city is nowhere near to reaching a sustainable level of funding for street repairs. A “sustainable” annual funding level is $80 million for local streets. The 2020 recommendation is $58 million – 30% shy of target. Of that $58 million, $20 million is the second tranche of the one-time, 2019 federal gas tax top-up payment. Without that remaining $20-million federal top-up, Council will be 49% shy of target, thereby gutting its 2020 streets program!
Further complicating the budget challenge is the fact last spring Council voted to permit using the street renewal reserves – raised each year by the 2% property tax — to fund bridges. This was done without any prior administrative or political impact assessment. This even though bridge work in any one year can consume most or all the additional revenue raised by the 2% tax hike. This despite the fact bridges have a $1.1-billion investment deficit. The 2% tax-hike plan was never designed to address a total $3-billion-plus deficit.
So instead of accepting there must be another way to repair our streets, the City says it’s time to settle for less, that we’ll always have some bad roads. That’s the new deal.
The real risk immediately is that we will see a streets program not at $58 million but $38 million if we don’t’ press hard now.
Below we have included a DRAFT message we ask you to email to Winnipeg’s Mayor and every Winnipeg city councilor. The contact information is attached. Feel free to call them in addition to the email. Have your office staff and employees do the same.
Feel free to edit and/or add your own message to the draft message BELOW.
Thank you for your assistance.
I write to you on behalf of my company and the employees we engage in the business of road construction.
A business owner and as taxpayers, we are alarmed at the reduction in streets repairs proposed by the City and as experienced by our company and workforce over the last number of years.
Worse, we are alarmed about the effective gutting of the 2020 Local streets Renewal Program if current recommendations are adopted.
If you proceed with the recommendations, not only will you knowingly support a direction that makes the condition of our streets worse – they are already an embarrassment – but you will effectively take jobs and incomes away from our workers and directly impact their and their family’s lives.
We ask that you support the following directions heading into the 2020 budget considerations:
First, with respect to the City’s budget:
- DON’T GUT the 2020 Local Streets Renewal program. Support allocating the remaining $20.5 million of federal gas tax funds to it, as outlined in the March 2019 budget process;
- Request a report within 60 days, updating with recommendations to achieve long-term sustainable funding for local and regional streets, and a parallel strategy for the city’s bridges for public, transparent consideration and decision.
Second, press for a ‘from-the-ground-up’ review of the roles and a responsible sharing of the funding burden between Manitoba’s municipalities and the province, and by extension Ottawa.
Third, as called for by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), press Ottawa to permanently double the gas-tax fund revenues augmented with annual 2-3.5% increases. What made sense in 2019 continues – the need has not lessened.
We depend upon you to ensure that our street system, which shapes our economy and community livability, is not allowed to further fall into disrepair.
Please copy the above message and drop it into the email to all Winnipeg City Councilors by clicking on the below email link. Add your and your company name.