March 19, 2019 11:42 am
Updated: March 19, 2019 11:43 am

Winnipeg set to chase the Province for missing roads money

Mayor Brian Bowman after the province released its budget Mar. 7, telling reporters there was still a $40 million hole in roads funding.

Amber McGuckin/Global News

The City of Winnipeg is set to pass its 2019 budget Wednesday, and with it comes a new stipulation that the City chase the Province for the $40 million shortfall in roads funding.

Winnipeg was set to see another record year of funding for roads this year, but slashed its plans by nearly $30 million after identifying the gap.

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Members of the city’s Executive Policy Committee meeting passed a recommendation Tuesday to go after the province for the money as part of the 2019 budget plans.

“There is a provision that council immediately call on the province to provide the outstanding $40 million to fulfill the final $50 million payment to the City of Winnipeg for the 2018 roads program, and to establish a go-forward commitment towards local road renewal for the city in 2019 and beyond,” Mayor Brian Bowman said.

Bowman referred to the 2014 commitment by the province to spend $250 million on Winnipeg’s roads over a five-year period, saying the City received just $10 million of the annual $50 million for the final year of the agreement — something the city says is backed up in written correspondence from the province.

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The initial request to chase the province for the funds was made at a meeting of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works by committee chair and St. Boniface councillor Matt Allard.

“To date, the province has not provided an itemized list of how they feel they’ve fulfilled the $250 million road commitment, nor have they advised when they reached this determination and why the City of Winnipeg wasn’t notified of this position until 2019,” Bowman said.

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The mayor noted some councillors would have had the city take on more debt or hike property taxes to allow for increased spending on roads in the wake of the shortfall, but said he’s not prepared to do that.

“The recommendation that was provided when the budget was initially tabled is what is continuing to be what is recommended for council, and along with the continued advocacies … is an effort to try to get the provincial government to simply make good on that previous commitment.”

The city has been at odds with the province for months in advance of budget season, putting off the tabling of its 2019 budget to March instead of February after what it’s calling a lack of clarity from Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives regarding funding — including contribution levels for roads.

RELATED: Winnipeg holds taxes at 2.33 per cent, lowers road spending by $29M

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