Sunday August 25, Manitoba Liberals announced our plan to invest in infrastructure.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont announces a “New New Deal” for Infrastructure
WINNIPEG - Leader Dougald Lamont announced today that a Manitoba Liberal Government will launch a “New Deal for Infrastructure” to establish an economic foundation for the next century of green growth and renewal in Manitoba.
Manitoba’s infrastructure deficit is the amount the province is falling behind on maintenance and necessary investments. The highway deficit alone is estimated to be at $6-billion and the total infrastructure deficit is estimated at $15-billion after decades of underinvestment by the PCs and the NDP alike.
The PCs cut $150-million in funding for highways in the 2018 budget, which is a double blow for the construction industry as well as for businesses that face higher costs because of Manitoba’s crumbling infrastructure. Some of Manitoba’s roads and bridges are in such bad shape that trucks have to travel half-full — doubling fuel and transport costs.
The PCs also held up applications under a $1.1-billion infrastructure agreement for more than a year. Signed in May 2018, the province did not open applications for projects until June 2019 — just before the election blackout.
“The bad news is that the NDP and PCs have neglected our infrastructure for so long that it needs to be replaced, but the good news is that we have an opportunity to invest in infrastructure that can take our economy to a new level,” said Lamont. “We want to let Manitobans, industry and municipalities alike know that a Manitoba Liberal government will provide predictable and stable funding. We will be an active partner in growth for years to come.”
Working with municipalities, First Nations, and stakeholders, Manitoba Liberals will create a 10-year strategic infrastructure plan to prioritizes urgent and high-return-on-investment infrastructure projects. A Manitoba Liberal Government will invest on average $1.6-billion per year for ten years. This $16 billion investment would see a return of almost $21 billion to Manitoba during that time frame.
- Strategic economic infrastructure to lower costs for Manitoba families and especially businesses: roads, bridges, trade connections — including northern winter roads, ice roads, and support for Centre Port. Examples - Highway 75, the Border at Emerson and upgraded Highway from the Pas to Saskatchewan.
- We will make accessible infrastructure a priority. The PCs have gutted the accessibility act. We will strengthen it and establish clear guidelines to ensure that accessibility is “baked in” to new builds. We will also pay for accessibility upgrades including schools, public buildings, and businesses. We will encourage the retrofitting of existing schools and buildings by having the province pay for 100% of renovations in K-12 schools.
- We will create a “Gateways” infrastructure fund so that entrance points to Manitoba and Winnipeg — provincial highways, airports and border crossings are upgraded to make them more effective, efficient and attractive to give visitors the best first impression.
- Greener & Healthier Community Design for cities and towns. We have an opportunity to start transforming our cities and infrastructure to make them more socially, economically and environmentally efficient. That means designing and building infrastructure that makes it fun and easy to get where you need to without a car. We will invest in active transportation infrastructure, transit, as well as renewing and building accessible local recreation centres across Manitoba.
- Finally, we will fund a study to determine the feasibility and costs of rail relocation / rationalization for the City of Winnipeg, linking it with CentrePort, as well as the possibility of creating a commuter / light rail system on the vacated tracks. Manitoba’s railways are a critical part of our economy and transportation infrastructure. However, the costs of building around the rails make up hundreds of millions of dollars of the infrastructure deficit, and hundreds of cars carrying hazardous materials run through Winnipeg’s residential neighbourhoods on a daily basis. The study should cost an estimated $3-million.
Manitoba Liberals will also apply previously announced “buy local” and local procurement policies to the projects and ensure there is a level playing field so local companies can apply.
“The PCs are obsessed with treating education, health care and infrastructure as costs to be cut, when they are essential investment that make a modern economy and our way of life possible,” said Lamont. “If we don’t invest in the present, we will leave nothing to the future.”