FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK: ACCELERATED REGIONAL ROAD RENEWAL IS WITHIN OUR REACH

What issue do Winnipeg residents raise with me the most?

The condition of our roads!

In fact, quarterly polling undertaken by the City of Winnipeg has demonstrated the number one issue or concern identified by you is the poor condition of our roads.

I have heard loud and clear that fixing the roads is the number one priority for you!

This is why, since this Council was elected in 2014, we have invested historical amounts into repairing roads across Winnipeg.

This year, we are investing $105 million into more than 150 road construction projects across Winnipeg.

But more needs to be done, and we need to work together with our federal and provincial governments to accelerate renewal of Winnipeg’s regional road network.

Within the City of Winnipeg, there are over 10 million vehicle kilometers driven daily, and approximately 80% of this travel is on regional roads like Pembina Highway, Portage Avenue, Main Street, and Regent Avenue.

Just last month, City Council unanimously supported a plan to accelerate regional road renewal in Winnipeg by leveraging the federal government’s New Building Canada Fund.

This federal government fund, established in 2014, was created to encourage investment in infrastructure projects that contribute to economic growth, job creation, and productivity. Rehabilitating regional roads is a category topping the list of eligible projects under the fund.

Much of Manitoba’s share of this federal funding – currently in the billions – remains unallocated.

Before the federal government will allocate funding, the province must support and submit proposals to the federal government.

If the province approves the City’s proposal to accelerate regional road renewal in Winnipeg, it would result in an incremental $182 million of federal funding to the City of Winnipeg over six years.

-Mayor Brian Bowman

Federal funding would significantly increase our ability to rehabilitate regional roads across Winnipeg!

The best part of the proposal? It requires no additional funding contributions over current projected funding levels from the province or City.

The worst part? It has an expiry date of March 2018. So, time is running out.

With preparation of the City’s 2018 capital budget already underway, this is a tremendous opportunity for federal, provincial and city governments to partner in building Winnipeg for the future at no additional incremental cost to city or provincial taxpayers, and would significantly increase the already unprecedented level of funding the city and province are investing in Winnipeg road repair.

I believe investment in Winnipeg’s infrastructure, particularly roads, generates a significant positive rate of return and is money well invested. It provides a significant economic benefit. It helps keep our city and province moving efficiently, and this is good for our overall economy and productivity, benefits of which are shared by businesses of all shapes and sizes both inside and outside of Winnipeg.

And as Winnipeg’s population grows to one million people, investments like these, today, will help support a growing city into the future.

Big cities across Canada, including Winnipeg, cannot address massive infrastructure deficits on their own. We need strong federal and provincial partners. It is my hope the provincial government will support the City’s proposal to access federal funding.

This will enable us to accelerate regional road renewal, and by working together we can address the number one priority you’ve identified for many years – fix the roads!

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