Winnipeg prioritizes road renewals over major projects with new federal funding wish list
Mayor's inner circle wants $182M from Ottawa to fix streets, rather than replace bridges or widen Kenaston
Mayor Brian Bowman has unveiled Winnipeg's new wish list for federal infrastructure funding — and it doesn't include any of the major projects in the city's short-term plans.
The city wants Ottawa to earmark $182 million from the new version of the Building Canada Fund to "accelerate" the city's regional street renewals, according to a report that comes before council's executive policy committee on Wednesday.
The last city wish list for federal funding, submitted in 2015, made the construction of the Waverley underpass, the widening of Marion Street, the western extension of Chief Peguis Trail and the widening of Kenaston Boulevard the city's top infrastructure priorities.
This contradicted the city's transportation master plan, which prioritized other projects — including the replacement of the Louise Bridge — as more pressing city priorities.
Now, Mayor Bowman's inner circle is poised to make regional street renewals a bigger priority than any major project, including the replacement of the Louise and Arlington bridges, widening Kenaston Boulevard or extending Chief Peguis Trail.
Instead, the city wants $182 million over five years to conduct more road renewals. The mayor said polling suggests road renewals are a bigger public priority.
The mayor also said the city won't have to spend any additional funds if Ottawa comes through on this request because the city already has cash dedicated to conduct this work.
More cash would be required if the city requested federal funding for new major projects, Bowman said.
"There's a number of submissions or a number of other key projects which are very important for the City of Winnipeg which we're not ready to proceed with at this time," Bowman said.
The city has received $45 million from Ottawa to help build the Waverley underpass, as well as funds for a Marion-widening project that is on hold pending a redesign.
According to Winnipeg capital projects manager Rob Taylor, $528 million allocated for Manitoba under the new Building Canada Fund remains unclaimed and must be allocated by March 31, 2018.