Details of the City of Winnipeg and federal government budgets were unveiled yesterday, with more money promised for infrastructure and Shoal Lake 40 First Nation's Freedom Road project.
Winnipeg's drinking water comes from Shoal Lake, and the First Nation in the area was isolated by the construction of the aqueduct a century ago. The community has no clean drinking water source and has been under a boil-water advisory for 18 years.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman joined CBC host Marcy Markusa on Information Radio on Wednesday to break down the numbers in both budgets.
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Marcy Markusa: What will the federal budget mean for the City of Winnipeg?
Brian Bowman: I was very pleased to see the federal government has responded to the call by the big-city mayors. Really what we saw yesterday was a renewed relationship with the government of Canada that they are forging with municipalities, and it reflects the increasingly important role that cities are playing within our federation.
How much money is the city committing to Shoal Lake's Freedom Road?
Yesterday was a historic day here in Winnipeg. I made the unprecedented commitment last year that we would be including the additional funds for Shoal Lake in the budget that was voted on yesterday, so there was an addition $6 million on top of $4 million that the City of Winnipeg had already pledged to meet one-third of the $30 million. We voted on that yesterday. I was disappointed that there were a number of councillors that didn't support the funding for Shoal Lake. At the end of the day, we were able to get it through and it's a very historic day.
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Will the federal government's allocation of $120 billion to new and existing infrastructure over 10 years speed up projects that Winnipeg needs and you have your eye on?
We sure hope so. We're already in communications with our federal partners. One of the things in particular that we're really happy to see is a commitment and willingness to bump up the eligible cost for certain infrastructure projects to 50 per cent. We'll be looking at the details to see if that can have an impact on projects like the Waverley Underpass or even the existing federal commitment for a second-phase rapid transit. We are going to have to get additional information from the federal government to get a better idea of what the specific numbers will be and how they'll relate to Winnipeg's priorities.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.