Manitoba helping municipalities fund road repairs
By Adam FreillConstruction Infrastructure Roads
Additional $15 million available in provincial one-time grand program.
Recognizing the impact of recent severe weather on Manitoba’s roads and highway infrastructure, the provincial government has set aside $15 million in a one-time grant program to provide municipalities financial support for road reconstruction, rehabilitation and preservation projects.
“Manitoba municipalities are facing significant road infrastructure challenges as a result of this year’s extraordinary weather conditions,” explained Premier Heather Stefanson. “Above-average precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures have caused a substantial increase in the number and severity of potholes on roads throughout the province, and inflation and supply chain issues have also added to this challenge.”
The province will distribute $15 million to Manitoba’s 137 municipalities on a per-capita basis. As such, the City of Winnipeg is set to receive nearly $9 million of the total.
“After one of the snowiest winters on record and a freeze/thaw cycle that is finally letting up in May, Winnipeggers are now facing a pothole season like no other,” said Winnipeg’s mayor, Brian Bowman. “With a forecasted shortfall of over $56 million in the City of Winnipeg budget as a result of pandemic impacts, this is a welcome funding announcement.”
Municipalities will be granted the funding for costs related to road infrastructure improvements, including accessing repair materials and addressing workforce shortages.
“As municipal roads connect local communities and support economic growth, these additional dollars help underscore the importance of long-term predictable funding to properly maintain and protect municipal infrastructure within our communities,” said Kam Blight, president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.
The grants are in addition to any disaster assistance municipalities could receive due to excessive flooding. Full details of the program to be made available to municipalities in the coming weeks.
“The funds the government of Manitoba is making available immediately are sorely needed by municipalities throughout Manitoba to address the extraordinary issues with roads and streets this spring,” said Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association. “The Manitoba government’s recognition of this as emergency assistance is a sign a bigger conversation regarding long-term solutions is needed to help municipalities regularly maintain infrastructure.”
The province’s 2022 budget includes a three-year, $1.5-billion commitment to enhance Manitoba’s highway network. More than $578 million has been allocated to highway projects this year.