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MHCA urges Winnipeg council to kickstart economy with infrastructure investments

The MHCA is urging Winnipeg’s City Council to use shovel-ready and major infrastructure projects to kickstart our ailing economy, for recovery from the COVID-19 business shutdown.

Association President Chris Lorenc, appearing via tele-video conference at the Finance Committee meeting April 27, noted it is leadership and strategic vision that will lead Winnipeg out of the economic malaise resulting from the pandemic shutdown.

“People need their local and provincial governments now, more than ever. They need to see their leaders speak with equal commitment to hope and recovery, and investment,” Lorenc said.  

Lorenc said MHCA, along with five other industry associations, supported an administration report that laid out the financial impact scenarios and responses within the city’s power to mitigate the loss of revenues and rise in expenses.

“Importantly, confirmation is given that the municipal government has a necessary role in supporting employment in the private and public sectors. And most importantly, it recognizes as do most, that investment in the city’s infrastructure is a critically important activity that must continue, to enable the city to participate in shaping the solutions, as distinct from exacerbating the problem.”

MHCA urged council to:

  • Fully flow the core infrastructure investment programs.
  • Consider accelerating those programs; the market is competitive, and prices are low, the City will benefit from robust budgets that derive greater value because of the market conditions.
  • Identify now, shovel-ready projects of 5 to 18 months duration. The federal government is looking for provincial and municipal partners in quick roll-out of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program dollars.
  • Re-prioritize capital projects in the 2020 Infrastructure Plan to elevate those that hold the fastest, greatest return on investment. Keep in mind the compounded returns that come from legacy benefits. Projects such as the Chief Peguis extension, help induce expanded trade related investments and jobs. Peguis itself, is a key piece in Winnipeg’s and the Capital Region’s trade transportation network; connects to CentrePort Canada Way; triggers major investments in the regional trade network such as St. Norbert bypass; Headingley bypass; and Route 90 expansion.
  • The federal government’s Investing in Canada plan can leverage trade-enabling and nation-building projects. This is a key-turner for Winnipeg and Manitoba, capable of raising our trade productivity and profile, opening significant markets domestically, continentally and globally.
  • With the FCM, press the federal government to double the gas-tax revenues to municipalities.

To read the full presentation, click here.