WINNIPEG — Should bedroom communities right next door to the city of Winnipeg contribute to the Winnipeg tax base?
Tens of thousands of people commute to Winnipeg daily to work or play and now some question if those commuters should have to pay a fee to use city roads.
Katherine Coutu lives in Stonewall and goes to Winnipeg at least four times a week and she’s not alone.
“Majority of the people along here work nine to five in Winnipeg,” Coutu said.
But with the city of Winnipeg struggling to pay for its crumbling roads, Jino Distasio, an Urban Studies Professor at the University of Winnipeg says a cost sharing formula might be beneficial.
“People coming into shop, they’re using the roads there’s always this who should pay for what,” Distasio said. “I think we should throw everything on the table and say ‘Hey we need to grow our revenues’.”
Even the mayor of Stonewall commutes to Winnipeg for work but says a fee isn’t a good idea.
“There’s always creative ways to take money from people but when I hear of a commuter tax or something like that you know, not in my life,” Mayor Lockie McLean said.
But Distasio says Winnipeg and surrounding communities need to work together, sharing revenues and resources.
“We really have to think more regionally, how can we coordinate our transportation system, how can we coordinate who pays for what?” Distasio said.
In Stonewall, residents understand the benefit…but don’t want to pay more.
“If they said I had to pay a fee, I probably wouldn’t go to Winnipeg I’d figure something else out,” Ben Lobb said.
The idea of toll roads have been floated before but it’s not something Winnipeg is considering, at least not yet.