It’s often said Winnipeg has two seasons — winter and construction — and the latter is nearly here.
On a chilly morning March 5, Mayor Sam Katz and Premier Greg Selinger came together to announce an additional $66 million is being poured by the provincial government into existing programs to improve Winnipeg roads over the next five years, for a total investment of $250 million.
"Let’s be very frank," Katz said. "The amount of priorities that we have in our infrastructure exceeds any funding that’s out there, regardless of what level of government. Today it’s $66 million of new incremental funding for the city to address their problems as part of the $250 million. That’s a major step, I applaud the provincial government and we’re going to get to work with that money right now."
The investment is the provincial government’s largest ever in Winnipeg street renewal.
Some projects in west Winnipeg scheduled for 2014 include King Edward Street from Legion Avenue to Dublin Avenue, northbound Sherbrook Street from Maryland Bridge to Portage Avenue, and Sturgeon Road at the Murray Park roundabout.
Selinger said the addition $66 million is coming from PST revenue and new revenue the province has raised.
"This will create good jobs for the young people of Manitoba so they can stay here and make a living," Selinger said. "We think it will make a gigantic difference and we think it will allow Winnipeg to move forward as we come into this spring season."
Katz said city council’s 2014 budget has already made a record investment in Winnipeg streets, with $35 million going towards regional streets and $49 million going to local streets, sidewalks, and back lanes.
"To see that the provincial government is investing in Winnipeg streets, back lanes, and sidewalks means a great deal to yours truly, and to all of council, and I’m sure it will to all our citizens," said Katz.
Kevin Chief, Minister for Children and Youth Opportunities and Minister responsible for relations with the City of Winnipeg, was also in attendance and said he wants Winnipeggers to get used to the sound of construction and the smell of asphalt in the air.
"When we work together we get things done for Winnipeg families," Chief said. "This will virtually touch every single neighbourhood in Winnipeg, with over 100 projects starting this year."
The projects were chosen from a list of recommendations to the province from the city.
A complete list of the 2014 provincially funded road improvements can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/ia/road/pdf/road_renewal_summary.pdf