The MHCA will meet next week with Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler to talk about the projected Highways Capital budget for 2021 and in the next five years, as part of the association’s efforts to move Manitoba toward long-term, public budget strategy.
“We are not out of the COVID pandemic and the economy is still in clear need of stimulus,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “It is well-known and acknowledged that strategic investment in infrastructure provides some of the highest rates of return on investment available for public-sector programs.”
The heavy construction industry and its supply side — including engineering, heavy equipment, oils, aggregates and related — need long-term, multi-year public budget plans around which to invest in plant, equipment, HR and its education and training, Lorenc noted.
Among the other priorities the association hopes to discuss next week are:
- Manitoba’s transportation system condition and needs assessment
- Estimated contract awards to March 31, 2021 against announced program amounts
- Status of the Lake St. Martin/Lake Manitoba Outlet Channels project
- Status of funding agreements under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program
Lorenc said Schuler recognizes the value of public investment in core infrastructure in Manitoba.
Infrastructure works were considered an essential service during the pandemic business shutdown and, with significant increases to capital budgets in the spring, play a critical role in the economy’s recovery.