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Business coalition offers help to accelerate national infrastructure program

MHCA has joined a business coalition in asking key provincial ministers to work on accelerating the national Investing in Infrastructure Program, of which Manitoba has been allocated $1.17 billion between 2019 and 2028.

A May 7 letter sent on behalf of 20 business groups to five ministers involved in plotting Manitoba’s economic recovery offered any assistance the coalition may give to accelerate approvals.

It followed a May 4 discussion with regional federal minister, Dan Vandal, and a letter April 28 to Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna. In both, the coalition asked that ICIP funding approvals be accelerated and that the federal program be given flexibility, to allow provinces to focus on priority projects.

At present, ICIP sets out allotment dollars for each province in four categories – Green, Transit, Community/Recreation and Rural/Northern. Some of the categories are seeing less take up because they do not mesh with some provinces’ priorities.

Manitoba’s share of the ICIP program, which runs to 2028, is $1.17 billion. To date, the province has seen $86.77 million in approved projects.

While funding rollout is staged yearly, Ottawa’s agreements with the provinces asks for multi-year plans that include projects, costs and what year those projects are expected to start.

To date, $79 million has been allocated to Manitoba under the ‘Green’ category and $7.8 million under Community, Culture and Recreation. The program also has Transit and Northern & Rural categories.

The business groups have also asked federal officials that the approval for the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin outlet projects be accelerated.

The business organization signing the provincial letter, on behalf of the group of 20, are ACEC-MB, Business Council of Manitoba, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, Manitoba Home Builders’ Association, Manitoba Trucking Association, Merit Mb, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Winnipeg Construction Association.

The letter was sent to Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson, Finance Minister Scott Fielding, Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Central Services Minister Reg Helwer.