All three leaders of the main provincial parties have committed to building on the $500-million highways capital budget to strengthen Manitoba’s trade transportation network, according to responses submitted to the MHCA election campaign questionnaire.
“This is solid proof that political leaders, and governments, recognize the intrinsic connection between good roads and economic growth,” MHCA President & CEO Chris Lorenc said. “Trade supports more than half of Manitoba’s GDP and if you can’t move it, you can’t sell it. Trade corridors and regional roads must be efficient, seamless and reliable.”
The leaders of the Progressive Conservative, NDP and Liberal parties said, if elected to government on October 3, they would build on the current highways capital budget, but also committed to strengthen the role of Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure in government economic policy and planning.
“A re-elected PC government is committed to further strengthening the mandate of Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure, and ensuring that planned infrastructure investments are closely aligned with the actions outlined in our Economic Growth Action Plan,” PC leader Heather Stefanson said in her response to the questionnaire.
“We agree it is essential to align planning for transportation and infrastructure, not only with the movement of people and goods across the province but also with the goal of supporting and spurring economic growth,” said Wab Kinew, leader of the NDP, wrote in his response. “We will support infrastructure funding for trade corridors and gateways across the province.”
Liberal leader Dougald Lamont said in his response he, as premier, would “modernize MTI’s mandate to ensure it has a strategic component and that we are prioritizing projects.”
All parties also underscored the need to see the build-out of CentrePort Canada continue, to optimize the development and the economic return of the inland port and free-trade zone.
Stefanson said CentrePort plays a pivotal role in line with the PC plan to optimize Manitoba’s trade-hub advantages, and is instrumental in sustaining economic growth.
“To this end, we’ve committed a substantial $40-million investment towards its expansion and development, ensuring that CentrePort is well-prepared to attract ongoing investment and create high-quality employment opportunities for both Winnipeg and all residents of Manitoba.”
Kinew said that the inland port has had the NDP’s support since its inception under former premier Gary Doer and “we will continue to support the buildout of CentrePort as a key hub for transportation and trade.”
Lamont said it is important to continue to enhance water and wastewater infrastructure within CentrePort’s footprint to attract development and: “Furthermore, we will support CentrePort in its objectives to diversity its revenue streams.”
All three parties also said they embrace the six pillars for economic growth, as set out by a group of six leading Manitoba business associations. To read the six pillars, click here.