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Mayor, municipalities accuse province of numbers game

Leadership needed to 'slay infrastructure dragon': Katz

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WINNIPEG  - Mayor Sam Katz accused the Selinger government of misleading cities by implying they will receive a greater portion of growth revenues.

His comments come exactly one week after the provincial government unveiled its budget. Last week, Katz accused the Selinger government of playing semantics by pledging to honour municipalities' request for one point of the PST.

This morning, Katz reiterated his criticism of the provincial budget and said it left cities with the impression that cities will receive new incremental money to put towards their infrastructure deficit. Katz said that is "totally inaccurate" and the province has simply "repackaged" existing funding.

"The facts are that is totally inaccurate," Katz said.

Winnipeg's infrastructure deficit is estimated at $3.8 billion.

Manitoba municipalities have lobbied for a one-point share of the provincial PST, which would amount to an additional $239 million to put toward crumbling roads in Winnipeg and aging water treatment plants in rural parts of the province.

Winnipeg would receive an additional $125 million to $150 million of new money under this plan.

"If you actually want to do something positive and constructive to improve infrastructure for the citizens of Winnipeg, then step up and do what’s right and provide municipalities with a real funding source to address the priorities of the people who’ve elected you," said Katz in a release.

"We can’t repair roads, rebuild our bridges and keep our communities safe and competitive without real money. We need real leadership to slay the infrastructure dragon."

Association of Manitoba Municipalities president Doug Dobrowolski said he was disappointed the additional growth revenues are not there since municipalities need help.

He said the association plans to continue to fight for a share of the PST to address aging pipes and water treatment plants in rural Manitoba.

"The infrastructure deficit in this province is in the billions of dollars and municipalities just can’t handle it on their own," he said.

"We need a new source of growth revenue dedicated to fixing the problem."

Jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 12:41 PM CDT: Corrects figure, adds new quotes.

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