The MHCA is continuing to watch the rollout of Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure’s highways capital program, comparing it against the schedules issued to date.
“We see that MTI is continuing to have challenges and we appreciate the assurances the department is working diligently to tender and award the program,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc told the August 30 meeting of the association’s Executive Committee.
Industry has full capacity to deliver on the $467.6 million highways capital program, as committed in Budget 2023. That figure includes a carryover of almost $60 million unexpended in 2022.
In addition, Budget 2023 set aside $32.3 million for water-related infrastructure projects.
Lorenc said the association will continue to monitor tenders and will make a fuller report at the end of the construction season.
“We support rolling over unexpended funds into successive years, but we are also working with the department to see earlier tendering and awards in the construction season, to help ensure the annual highways capital program is fully tendered and awarded within each budget year,” Lorenc said.
Flowing the full 2022 highways capital program is a priority for industry, for its workers, is required by the transportation system, its users and ultimately the provincial economy. It is at the top of the MHCA Executive Committee’s list of policy priorities.
The Committee also discussed the municipal election campaign, having met earlier in the day with Winnipeg mayoral candidate Glen Murray, who called the heavy construction industry the city’s most important private-sector partner (click here for a fuller report).
Lorenc also reported that discussions with the City of Winnipeg Water & Waste department are ongoing regarding the inclusion of a fuel adjustment clause in its public tenders and contracts.
To date, Public Works has revised and included new fuel adjustment clauses for road construction projects and for the bid-hourly contracts.
Other items discussed at the meeting included:
- Trade infrastructure investment: A letter was sent on August 17 by the Canada West Foundation on behalf of the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Construction Association, and the Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association, seeking a meeting with her to discuss the need for a national strategy for trade infrastructure investment.
- Prompt payment legislation: MHCA, with partners in the construction industry, is engaging in consultations with senior officials in the Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services Department regarding the need for amendments to the Builders’ Liens Act to provide for clear, comprehensive prompt payment rules.
- Aggregate mining and transportation fees: The provincial government has issued notice of the intent to increase the aggregate mining and the transportation fees, in line with the recommendations of its Provincial Aggregate Advisory Committee. The notice of increase has been sent to municipalities, which must amend their aggregate bylaws to charge the increased fee. (Click here for a fuller report.)
- WCR&HCA Stronger Together Conference: The WCR&HCA will be sending out notice in the next weeks of the emerging program for the Stronger Together Conference, Feb. 5-9, 2023, in Waikiki, Hawaii. The conference committee has secured Gary Mar, President of the Canada West Foundation, as a keynote speaker; panelists discussing harnessing trade to grow Canada’s economy include, Brad Wall, former premier of Saskatchewan; Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; and Mary Van Buren, President, Canadian Construction Association (for conference details, click here).
The Executive Committee was also informed of the MHCA public messaging strategy, leading up to the municipal elections October 26, which will include radio and social media advertising.
The Manitoba Trucking Association is partnering with MHCA in the #Vote to Fix Our Roads campaign, distributing to its industry members decals to be displayed on the backs of truck trailers.
Later this fall, the #Vote to Fix Our Roads campaign will be found on superboards along key highways, in effort to press the provincial government to make highway maintenance a priority in the 2023 budget, and going into the next provincial election.