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Winnipeg city council votes to spend gas tax money on roads, active transportation

Road construction in the Exchange District.
Road construction in the Exchange District. Michael Draven/Global News

Winnipeg’s city council voted to spend an estimated $40 million in federal gas tax funding on roads, active transportation and road safety Thursday.

Half of the money will be spent this year, and the other half will be reserved for the 2020 budget, said Mayor Brian Bowman.

“What we’ve done for this year is earmarked $22.5 million for local roads, about $750,000 for active transportation, and $2.5 million for road safety projects,” he said.

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

In March, the city was facing a $40 million gap in Winnipeg’s road budget in what they called a “funding shortfall” from the province.

Now, the city can make up some of this loss with the new “one-time doubling” of gas tax monies from the federal government, said Bowman.

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Out of 56 streets and 11 back alleys slated to be renewed this year, about half will be fixed using the gas tax monies, said Bowman. He did not confirm which roads will be repaired.

A map of all the roads that were slated to be repaired in 2019:

Not all of the city councillors were on board with the decision to invest in roads. Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos said she would like to see more money spent on parks and community services.

The money is contingent on the passing of the federal budget.

Waverley Underpass

The city is hoping big savings from the Waverley Underpass Project will still be spent on projects in the city.

This motion was tabled by St. James – Brooklands Coun. Scott Gillingham and unanimously supported by city hall at Thursday’s council meeting.

The Waverley Underpass Project, supported by all three levels of government, is well under-budget with an estimated $58 million in savings. Total cost for the project is about $98 million, with a contingency of $10 million.

A rendering of the new Waverley Underpass.
A rendering of the new Waverley Underpass. City of Winnipeg

The federal government and provincial governments are estimated to save $18 million each and the city is set to save slightly over $20 million, according to city hall reports.

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“We’re indicated that we would like to see those funds stay in the city of Winnipeg, but ultimately that’s going to be at the discretion of both provincial and federal governments,” said Bowman.

RELATED: Lack of complete budget breakdown for Waverley underpass ‘concerning’ to some councillors

Lack of complete budget breakdown for Waverley underpass ‘concerning’ to some councillors
Lack of complete budget breakdown for Waverley underpass ‘concerning’ to some councillors