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Record number of Manitoba municipalities demand province reinstate road funding program

Click to play video 'Record number of Manitoba municipalities demand province reinstate road funding program' Record number of Manitoba municipalities demand province reinstate road funding program
WATCH: AMM president Chris Goertzen said Manitoba community leaders are calling on the province to scrap plans to end their existing road funding program.

Municipalities from across Manitoba have joined forces to voice their concerns about a provincial government decision to cut a program to fund roads and bridges.

In June, the province announced it was going ahead with terminate the Municipal Road and Bridge Program – a program the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) calls “essential.”

“Municipal road and bridge infrastructure is essential for a better Manitoba,” said AMM president Chris Goertzen Tuesday.

“This program has very little red tape, which makes it an efficient way for municipalities to partner with the provincial government to build much-needed infrastructure in local communities across our province.”

READ MORE: Manitoba municipalities asking for infrastructure funding

A total of 102 Manitoba municipalities – a record number – have co-sponsored a resolution calling on the province to fully reinstate the program’s former funding levels.

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The Municipal Road and Bridge Program made $2.25 million available to municipalities in 2018, itself a drop from 2017’s $14 million in funding.

“The Municipal Road and Bridge Program is critical, and it should be re-instated immediately,” said Thompson mayor Colleen Smook.

“Roads carry the lifeblood of municipalities across Manitoba, and as a northern hub for transportation and heavy industry, Thompson’s businesses depend on them to thrive.”

She said she thought it was a typo when she first learned of the funding shift.

WATCH: Thompson mayor calls on province to fix ‘mistake’ on road and bridge funding plan

Click to play video 'Thompson mayor calls on province to fix ‘mistake’ on road and bridge funding plan' Thompson mayor calls on province to fix ‘mistake’ on road and bridge funding plan
Thompson mayor calls on province to fix ‘mistake’ on road and bridge funding plan

“From $14 million in 2017 to $2.25 million in 2018, at first I thought maybe their calculator missed a one,” Smook said.

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“We all make a mistake once in awhile and I believe that’s what happened with this municipal road and bridge.”