Earlier this week, Mayor Brian Bowman identified fixing Winnipeg's streets as the city's top priority. He followed that up on budget day by announcing a record level of road-renewal spending of infrastructure spending.
According to the budget released Wednesday, the city will spend $116 million in 2018 on road renewals, a category that also includes some sidewalks, curbs and shoulders but mostly involves actual streets. That figure represents a rise of $11 million from 2017, when the city devoted $105 million to this task.
The increase is significant for two reasons. First, it allows the mayor to follow through om a campaign promise to ensure almost all the proceeds of Winnipeg's annual property-tax hike are spent on road renewals.
As well, the increase in spending on roads stands in contrast to a $74-million drop in overall infrastructure spending next year.
Here's how most of the 2018 road-renewal budget breaks down:
1. Regional street reconstructions and major rehabilitations
There's $52.5 million set aside next year to tear up and rebuild eight heavily used routes and improve Portage and Main:
- Empress Street: $11.4 million for reconstruction between Portage Avenue and St. Matthews Avenue.
- Garry Street: $9.1 million from Assiniboine Avenue north to Portage Avenue and then northwest on Notre Dame Avenue to Princess Street.
- McGregor Street: $7.6 million from Mountain Avenue to Selkirk Avenue.
- McPhillips Street: $6.6 million from Logan Avenue to Jarvis Avenue.
- Fermor Avenue: $6 million from Rue Archibald to St. Anne's Road.
- Roblin Avenue: $5.3 million for the eastbound lanes from Assiniboine Park Drive to Shaftesbury Boulevard.
- Pembina Highway: $2.8 million for the northbound lanes between Avenue Ducharme and Cloutier Drive
- Portage and Main: $2 million for intersection improvements
- St. James Street: $1.7 million from Sargent Avenue to Ellice Avenue.
2. 'Mill and fill' work
The city will also replace the top layer of one other major street:
- Kenaston Boulevard: $700,000 from Ness Avenue to Taylor Avenue.
3. Local street renewals
The city will spend $28.3 million next year rebuilding local streets. The public works department decides which ones to fix after consulting with councillors for each ward.
4. Gravel roads
There's $3 million set aside next year for so-called granular roadways, including the southern stretch of Waverley Street.
5. Additional roads on Winnipeg's wish list
Winnipeg also hopes to fix sections of 19 more regional streets over the next six years with the help of $182 million worth of federal funding. The catch is the province has to sign off on the city's federal-funding wish list.
The roads in question are:
- Archibald Street.
- Corydon Avenue.
- Dunkirk Drive.
- Erin Street.
- Grant Avenue.
- Keewatin Street.
- King Edward Street.
- Lagimodiere Boulevard.
- Pandora Avenue.
- Pembina Highway.
- Portage Avenue.
- Regent Avenue.
- Roblin Boulevard.
- Salter Street.
- Sargent Avenue.
- Selkirk Avenue.
- Sturgeon Road.
- University Crescent.
Mayor Brian Bowman repeated his pitch to the province on Thursday, urging Brian Pallister's government to endorse the city's request for federal funds.
While the request would not require the province to spend more money on city roads than it already does, Bowman said he feared the Progressive Conservatives have other uses in mind for federal infrastructure dollars.
"My concern is they may have other priorities that may not be aligned and they may be outside the Perimeter Highway," Bowman said at the public works department's East Yards.
"Two-thirds of Manitobans live in Winnipeg. To me, supporting this to the greatest extent possible is a no-brainer."
Minister of Municipal Relations Jeff Wharton said the province is working with the city and doing its "due diligence" on the road-renewal plans, but isn't ready to sign on.
"The mayor, [it] is clear to him that he feels that it's money that just needs to be signed over to him, but that's simply not the truth. The truth is simple: it's a three-way partnership, a third, a third, a third," Wharton said.
The minister also disputed the $182 million federal funding figure Bowman provided.
"I believe it's $170 million, is what their request was for, initially. So we'd like to be clear on what the ask is."