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Winnipeg city committee wants gas tax money to pay for local roads

A city committee wants to use a federal gas tax to fill a $40 million hole in the city's roads budget.
A city committee wants to use a federal gas tax to fill a $40 million hole in the city's roads budget. Michael Draven/Global News

A $40-million hole in Winnipeg’s road budget could soon be filled.

The city’s standing policy committee on infrastructure renewal and public works approved a motion put forward by councillor Jeff Browaty to take $40 million from a federal gas tax and commit it to local roads.

The city was forced to slash their roads budget and has said that no residential roads will be repaired in 2019 thanks to what they call a funding shortfall from the province.

READ MORE: Residential roads take a back seat

Winnipeg will see at least $40 million from the gas tax this year, which is double what was expected.

Browaty says “time is of the essence” and they are hoping to move this forward as soon as possible to get projects underway. The city also has to wait for the federal budget to be approved before receiving the money.

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The city’s director of public works, Jim Berezowsky, said any change to the roads budget needs to be approved sometime in May, or else some of the projects won’t be completed in the fiscal year.

Mayor Brian Bowman told Global News he supports the idea of putting the extra gas tax money towards roads.

READ MORE:  Winnipeg should spend federal gas tax money on local roads: Bowman

Councillors voted 3-1 to approve the motion, with Point Douglas councillor Vivian Santos the lone person to vote against it. She doesn’t want all the gas tax money to go toward roads and says some should go to community services and active transportation.

The motion will be discussed at the next executive policy committee meeting.

WATCH: Winnipeg lowers road spending by $29 million

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