The MHCA Executive Committee this week signaled it is ready to push back on any suggestion that Winnipeg city council should move revenue dedicated to street repair into budgets for other services.
“The MHCA will be meeting with members of council’s budget working group, and delivering a strong message that street repair budgets cannot be cut,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said, out of the Executive Committee meeting Wednesday. “We recognize city council is in a bind, with limited revenue sources, but our streets are in terrible shape and the local street budget was cut last year.”
The MHCA is increasingly concerned that the revenue from the federal government’s doubling of gas tax transfers to municipalities, earmarked for the local and regional street renewal program, might not entirely flow to street repair budgets this year.
Further, the 2% annual tax hike, which dedicated all revenues to street repairs, is now also being used to fund bridge work and might be used for other purposes, such as recreation centres.
On Wednesday, the Executive Committee decided the MHCA should request meetings with the Mayor and senior staff, and possibly launch a public campaign to raise awareness among property tax payers and Winnipeggers, in general.
Among the other top items discussed by the Executive Committee were:
- Discussions with Manitoba Infrastructure regarding moving some internally delivered highway work to the private sector are proceeding; the MHCA recommended to government that, to ensure success, the scope of services and expectations be well defined and that contracts are written with defined, appropriate geographic area
- MHCA continues to speak to the province about the need for a government-wide review of the way core infrastructure is now funded, with a focus on return-on-investment and long-term investment strategies
- The MHCA and ACEC-Mb are pressing the Winnipeg Public Works department to establish a working group for the review of potential specification changes. The two associations have numerous concerns about the city’s planned revisions to base and sub-base specifications.
- The MHCA has requested the Canadian Construction Association, through its Civil Infrastructure Council, commission a third-party subject matter expert to develop a report on the beneficial links between infrastructure and the environment