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Provincial budget 'abandons' city on infrastructure: Katz

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The provincial budget will accomplish next to nothing for Winnipeg's infrastructure crisis, according to Mayor Sam Katz who said the city and other municipalities have been "completely abandoned."

On Tuesday, the province unveiled its 2013 budget which includes a plan to raise provincial sales tax to eight per cent July 1. The City of Winnipeg, which hoped to see the province devote one percentage point of PST to municipalities, instead received a transfer hike of $22.3 million. That figure includes $9.3 million to help build the Plessis Road underpass, $5 million to complete the Southwest Transitway and approximately $7 million more for local street renewals.

This morning, Katz said he is extremely disappointed that there's hardly any money going towards the city's infrastructure deficit, and it appears the province does not care about the problem in Winnipeg or other municipalities. Katz said the budget includes $14 million for the city's infrastructure, but Winnipeg has to match those funds and will have to come up with the money.

He said the PST hike will cost the city even more money, and Winnipeg will have to spend an additional $1.4 million a year.

"You've seen swimming pools close down, you've seen parkades close down, and what was announced yesterday does absolutely nothing to address those issues in the long -term which means municipalities, the city of Winnipeg, have been completely abandoned; and it's only going to get worse, it's not going to get better," Katz said following this morning's executive policy committee meeting.

--with files from Bartley Kives

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