The MHCA met with Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler Oct. 15, to be introduced to Sarah Thiele, the new deputy minister of Infrastructure.
Thiele, most recently an ADM in the Families Department, comes to her post with years of experience in finance and provincial budget development.
“We were impressed by Ms. Thiele’s engagement and her commitment to focusing on economic drivers, given the need to see Manitoba restart its economy and to weather the next wave of the pandemic, which we know can do real damage to provincial revenues,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.
Lorenc said the meeting was productive, reviewing the department’s focus for the next budget year and longer-term program plans and investment strategy. Schuler repeated his commitment to strategic infrastructure investment, focusing the budget and strategic planning on transportation assets that help Manitoba do business here and with the world.
The MHCA repeated its priorities for budget and program planning. The province and taxpayers get real value for their money when the industry knows not just the next year’s budget level for Highways Capital, but also the long-range investment levels.
Early understanding of what the industry can expect from budgets two to five years down the road allows companies to be more confident in their business plans, to adjust their investment in capital and plan for human resources. That allows for very competitive bidding, industry wide, which means the province gets the best prices possible on their tenders.
Schuler said he will give more detail on the Infrastructure Department’s future directions in his address at the MHCA Awards Breakfast, held via Zoom, on November 20.