Mayor worries Winnipeg's being left out of $1.1B infrastructure deal

Winnipeg's mayor says the city is being left out of its fair share of a $1.1-billion infrastructure deal announced Monday.

Mayor Brian Bowman says he had frank discussion with federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi

Mayor Brian Bowman says the province did not provide him with a draft copy of the infrastructure agreement. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Winnipeg's mayor says the city is being left out of its fair share of a $1.1-billion infrastructure deal announced Monday.

"Winnipeggers are contributing a significant amount of the tax dollars that are helping fund that," Mayor Brian Bowman said Tuesday. "We're two-thirds of the province. We're responsible for about 75 per cent of the GDP.

"What I want to do obviously as mayor of Winnipeg, protecting Winnipeg taxpayers, is make sure that Winnipeg benefits from a fair share of those dollars."

Manitoba Municipalities Minister Jeff Wharton and federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi announced the infrastructure deal on Monday.

The agreement focuses on funding green infrastructure, transit and active transportation, digital communication, cultural and recreational development, and remote and northern communities.

For Manitoba, the money means upgrades to the water and waste facility in Portage la Prairie, a bus shelter and transit info centre in Brandon, and handivans in four rural Manitoba communities as well as numerous smaller projects.

Manitoba Municipalities Minister Jeff Wharton, left, and federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi sign a $1.1-billion infrastructure funding agreement at The Forks on Monday. (CBC)

With a total of $1.1 billion over 10 years in the deal, Bowman said by his office's calculations, Winnipeg should benefit to the tune of about $700 million.

"The federal minister took the time to meet with me yesterday so we could have a good, frank discussion. He's been extremely accessible and open, Minister Sohi, he's been great to deal with."

According to the federal government, about $546 million will go toward transit projects, although details on how that money will be allotted have not been broken down further. Presumably, the lion's share of that money will come to Winnipeg to improve the city's transit system. 

However, the province has been mum on the deal, said Bowman.

City officials heard late last week that the announcement was coming and asked the provincial government for a copy of the draft agreement, he said.

"We didn't get one, but we asked the federal government and we received a draft copy."

Wharton was not available for comment on Tuesday morning.

His press secretary, Caitlin MacGregor, said the City of Winnipeg will see funding from the agreement.

"This new funding will see the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba make unprecedented investments in infrastructure across the province, including the City of Winnipeg," she said in an emailed statement.

"We look forward to partnering with our federal and municipal partners, including the City of Winnipeg, to advance projects that will have lasting benefits for Manitobans."

With files from Cameron MacLean


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