Rough residential roads can be found in virtually any neighbourhood in Regina. To address this, city council approved the Residential Road Renewal Program (RRRP) in 2014. The five year fund-building portion is coming to an end next year. So, what’s next?
On June 7, Regina’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will have a discussion on four options for the future of the RRRP. They will keep the status quo, reallocate the division of the funding, one per cent mill rate increases for five years dedicated to poor roads or seven years of increases to achieve the same goal.
City administration recommends council approves the second option. This would see 45 per cent of the RRRP budget go to both fair and poor roads. The current funding allocations are 65 per cent for fair roads and 25 per cent for poor. Both plans see 10 per cent go to maintenance of good roads.
Ward 1 Councillor Barbara Young is supportive of this option.
“There wasn’t enough of the money that was going to rebuild the poor roads, so that’s what this recommendation is about. I approve it, heartily, to move more money there,” Young said.
“I don’t think it’s enough yet. We have one more year of the one per cent going into that.”
Since its inception, the RRRP fund has grown to $14.17 million. That covers 51 projects this year.
Young is hopeful another funding stream can be found to fix the poor roads in a shorter timeline, such as federal grant money.
The city estimates shifting money would see the poor road project backlog be addressed in 36 years instead of 64.
Ward 9 Councillor Jason Mancinelli wants to see poor roads addressed sooner. That’s why he is in favour of increasing the mill rate.
“I think that’s just pushing the problem to the future. I think that’s pushing it onto my son’s generation, and I think a lot of these problems have been put onto me from the previous generation and I don’t want to perpetuate that cycle,” Mancinelli said.
Five years of a one per cent increase would see the poor road backlog addressed in 32 years.
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Mancinelli is well aware advocating for tax increases is not popular, but he’d rather see the poor road backlog cleared out in a timelier manner.
“I’d hate to think that in 25 years of paying my mortgage, as the road deteriorates in my newer area, it crumbles and falls apart and we haven’t increased the capacity to keep on top of that so we don’t recreate the problems we’ve created in the past,” he said.
Currently, just over half of Regina’s residential roads are in good or better condition, 26 per cent are fair and 21 per cent are poor.
The options councillors Young and Mancinelli favour are expected to see 82 and 85 per cent of roads be in fair or better condition within 25 years
Once the committee debates the options drafted by city administration, they are expected to be forwarded to city council for further debate and potential approval on July 30.