July 12, 2020

18° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Close this


Advertise With Us

Municipal leaders cheer infrastructure spending

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/3/2013 (2669 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MUNICIPAL leaders welcomed a new long-term commitment by Ottawa Thursday to fund infrastructure improvements, and cheered the fact that gas tax payments to them will now rise with inflation.

Mayor Sam Katz called the plan to index the gas tax a "win" for Winnipeg, but said the city still needs more revenue or taxation power to tackle its growing infrastructure deficit.

But the head of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities was less reserved in his enthusiasm.

"I think it's just about everything we've been asking for," said AMM president Doug Dobrowolski. "We got a 10-year program. We'll obviously have to wait and see what the details are. But they really expanded on infrastructure."

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced $47 billion in new funding in support of local and economic infrastructure projects under a new Building Canada plan that will take effect next year. The infrastructure money will be used to build roads, fund public recreation and recreational facilities, and support major economic projects.

Dobrowolski said he is looking forward to hearing more details of the federal government's infrastructure plans when he participates today in a conference call with Winnipeg MP Steven Fletcher, the lead cabinet minister for infrastructure in Western Canada.

The AMM leader was also pleased to see a federal commitment to spend $253 million over five years on housing after Ottawa failed to earmark any money for this in last year's budget.

Katz was happy with Ottawa's long-term commitment on infrastructure funding. But he said cities need a bigger share of revenues or taxation powers in order to tackle Winnipeg's $3.8-billion infrastructure backlog. By 2018, Katz said, the infrastructure deficit is expected to reach more than $7 billion.

Finance Minister Stan Struthers said he welcomed Flaherty's commitments to investing in infrastructure and skills training -- two priorities for Manitoba.

But Struthers noted such programs are cost-shared with the provinces, and he worried about the strain participation in the programs will place on Manitoba's finances.

"It's a pressure on our budget that we'll be needing to deal with," Struthers said, noting that Ottawa has flatlined transfer payments and is "pulling back" in ongoing health-care funding.

On the other hand, Manitoba isn't about to leave any federal infrastructure and training money on the table, the Manitoba minister added. "We're going to work with the federal government to make sure that we address these needs."

Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, called the infrastructure announcement "a very good and progressive first step."

Like others on Thursday, though, Lorenc is awaiting details of Ottawa's plans.

"We think that investments which fuel economic growth in new areas of economic activity or investments which help productivity and competitiveness in existing areas of economic activity need to be a priority," he said.


Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us