Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Back in the Nov. 12 throne speech Premier Greg Selinger said a record $5.5 billion would be spent over the next five years on core or "strategic" infrastructure.
He also promised to dedicate each dollar raised from the one-point PST increase to infrastructure. The government expects to see about $300 million in new revenue annually from the PST increase.
Here's what the NDP promised Manitobans in the past month on infrastructure spending:
- $215 million for Highway 75. The aim is to keep it open during all but 1997-level floods and will involve diverting the Morris River so it flows into the Red River further north.
- $225 million towards the second phase of rapid transit in south Winnipeg, including adding additional vehicle and bike lanes to the Pembina-Jubilee Underpass.
- $200 million over the next five years to start rebuilding the southwest quadrant of the Perimeter Highway, essentially from Portage Avenue to Pembina Highway and Highway 75. Included is a diamond interchange at McGillivray Boulevard that will do away with traffic-control lights.
- $67 million to upgrade Highway 10 from Riding Mountain National Park to the U.S. border, including new passing lanes, curve realignments and asphalt resurfacing.
- $45 million for Highway 9 from Winnipeg to Winnipeg Beach for concrete reconstruction, asphalt resurfacing and better road drainage.
- $225 million for Highway 6 from Winnipeg to Thompson, including bridge replacements, intersection improvements, curve realignments and design work for new passing lanes. Included in that amount are plans to surface Provincial Roads 373 and 374, which will be access points to the east side road network currently under construction.
The total for these six projects is $997 million over five years.
The NDP's plan is to cost these out further in the spring budget. The goal is also to secure matching federal funding under the new $53-billion Building Canada Plan, which is to be rolled by the Harper government in the coming months.
Under the previous Building Canada Fund, Manitoba saw about $500 million. The money was used for projects including finishing the Red River Floodway expansion and the Waverley West arterial road. The most recent project is the expansion of the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.
So, in a nutshell, over the past month the province has promised that almost $1 billion will be spent over the next few years on six road projects.
The actual accounting, which level of government pays what and by when, remains kind of fuzzy.
Not that it matters much anyway... there's only one source.
At least the roads will be smoother.
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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen
Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.
Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.
At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.
Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.
He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.
Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.
In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.
You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.
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