The MHCA has sent senior Winnipeg MP Jim Carr a letter, asking him to help ensure the city fixes its residential streets this year, as planned before severe budget cuts.
City Council yesterday approved Budget 2019, which slashed $42 million from residential street repair work. That eliminated plans for 53 street reconstruction projects, and for 11 laneways.
“A severe reduction in local street renewal, given the $3-billion infrastructure investment deficit, does not serve the interests of Winnipeggers. It will impair the economic interests of the city, and by extension for Manitoba as a whole,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc wrote in the March 20 email to Carr.
“We seek confirmation that the top-up to municipalities will result in Winnipeg receiving an additional $40 million in federal Gas Tax Fund transfers for 2018-19; the expected date by which the City will receive these dollars; and, that they be used to ensure residential street renewal projects – as (previously) planned – will proceed this construction season,” Lorenc said.
On March 19, the Trudeau government’s Budget 2019 announced Ottawa would double the amount municipalities get from the Gas Tax Fund for 2018-19. Towns and cities would get more than $2 billion in additional funding.
Mayor Brian Bowman has said that could see Winnipeg receiving an additional $40 million in federal transfers this year.
Coun. Scott Gillingham said at a Wednesday council meeting the city budget could not be amended to include additional funds for infrastructure, prior to receiving federal confirmation of the amount to flow.
Winnipeg is dealing with a $40-million shortfall in funds the provincial government owed to help pay for 2018 street works. The province says it has paid all it owed. In addition, because the province has not signed a new, five-year roads funding agreement with Winnipeg, the city is facing a $174-million reduction to its multi-budget forecasts for local and regional street renewal.