Funding for Winnipeg Transit and Watermains

On July 25, 2016, the Federal Government announced major funding for projects across Manitoba!  The City of Winnipeg will be receiving $79.4 million for transit initiatives, as well as $4.1 million in federal-provincial funds to upgrade watermains in Transcona.

Based on this news, and as Winnipeg Transit moves forward with its operations, we anticipate announcements later this year regarding expanded transit service.  Please continue to watch my website, or sign up for a monthly E-Newsletter at the link below to stay informed.

My thanks to CBC News and the Winnipeg Free Press for reporting on this story.

Manitoba water, transit projects get $205M funding boost

4 Winnipeg transit projects to see $79M from province, feds

CBC News Posted: Jul 25, 2016 11:35 AM CT

Public transit and water treatment projects got a $205-million boost Monday as the federal and provincial governments announced millions in funding for Manitoba municipalities.

About $101.2 million will be funnelled into 27 Manitoba projects as part of the federal government’s 10-year infrastructure investment plan. A total of more than $178 million in funding is expected to be available to municipalities through the federal Public Transit Fund and Canadian Water and Wastewater Fund.

In the past, the federal government has put up one-third of the funding for provincial infrastructure projects; under the new agreement, it will now cover about half of the cost. The province (25 per cent) and municipalities (25 per cent) will fork up the rest, Manitoba Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke said.

The City of Winnipeg alone will see almost $53 million from the federal government and close to $26.5 million from the province go toward four transit projects, said MaryAnn Mihychuk, minister of employment, workforce development and labour. That money is expected to help buy new buses, fix old ones and expand bus maintenance space.

The announcement comes three days after CBC News reported details about a bus maintenance backlog that led to significant overtime bills for Winnipeg Transit last year.

Money for RMs

More than $73 million through the water and waste fund — just over $49 million from the feds and a little more than $24.5 million from the provincial government — has been committed to 23 other projects. Among those projects is the development of a pump house and reservoir in the rural municipality of West St. Paul, which the province says will allow the community to retrieve water from the Cartier Regional Water Co-op system.

West St. Paul Mayor Bruce Henley said his community will receive $3 million for the project.

Henley said if you combine the enhanced funding from the federal government with declining construction prices, it means municipalities will be able to do more infrastructure upgrades than they previously thought was possible.

MaryAnn Mihychuk, federal minister of employment, workforce development and labour, and Eileen Clark, Manitoba minister of Indigenous and municipal relations, sign a funding agreement Monday in Winnipeg that will see $101,975,000 go toward 27 transit and water projects across Manitoba. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)

“This is going to be a huge stimulus that’s going to allow us to do more work and get it done as quick as possible,” Henley said.

Clarke also noted a downturn in construction prices is helping get more projects on the go. The minister says the cost of construction has been affected by fewer floods in Manitoba.

“Tenders are coming in lower on projects in 2016 from what we’ve traditionally seen in the past perhaps four years since the flooding in 2011,” Clarke said. “All of these things are a real boost to our government. They are also a boost to our municipalities.”

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) is also pleased with the funding announcement. The organization has been calling on the federal and provincial governments for more funding to smaller communities as part of its “Fair share — Fair Say” campaign.

“Municipalities have called for a ‘fair say’ on how infrastructure dollars are invested, while stressing the importance of clean and safe drinking water as well as efficient wastewater treatment for Manitobans,” Chris Goertzen, president of the AMM, said in a release Monday.

“Our association is pleased to be at the table as a partner working alongside the federal and provincial governments in selecting municipal infrastructure projects that benefit our communities.”

With files from Sean Kavanagh

Transit projects in first phase of tripartite infrastructure deal

Feds and province roll out first phase of 10-year plan

Winnipeg Transit will be able to purchase 60 new buses and expand and refurbish its Osborne Street garage with an infusion of federal and provincial cash from a brand-new infrastructure agreement.

The federal and Manitoba governments rolled out the first phase of the 10-year Investing in Canada plan on Monday with 27 projects worth more than $205 million.  The initial announcement covered transit, water and wastewater projects.

In a departure from previous agreements, Ottawa will cover half the costs of the initiatives instead of about one-third as with past tri-level deals.

“We’re very pleased with the funding being provided to the city,” Mayor Brian Bowman said. “It’s welcome news.

“These are very substantive dollars that we’re talking about.”

Winnipeg will receive $79.4 million for transit initiatives and $4.1 million in federal-provincial funds to upgrade watermains in Transcona.

Winnipeg Transit will receive $35.2 million in federal-provincial funding to purchase buses, beginning in September. It will also receive close to $37 million to expand its bus maintenance space, more than $5 million for bus garage upgrades and $2.25 million for a backup power generator at the Osborne Street facility.

The announcement was made in West St. Paul on Monday by federal Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk, provincial Indigenous and Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke, and Chris Goertzen, president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. The event was hosted by West St. Paul Mayor Bruce Henley.

Mihychuk said the projects announced Monday were based on merit, not politics.

“They come from ridings that are held by Conservatives, NDPers, Liberals – the politics of the selection of the projects has been tossed. It’s based on merit. And I think our selection proves it,” she said.

The federal minister said more projects are coming, including road work.

“This is just the beginning. We wanted to do the signing, let Manitobans know that we’re at the table, we mean business and we’re anxious to get the projects going.”

Both Clarke and Goertzen said they appreciated the fact that Ottawa is putting up 50 cents for every dollar spent. The increased federal share will benefit cash-strapped provincial and municipal governments and allow more projects to move forward, they said.

“It’s a true partnership. We see this being rolled out very quickly, as well, so we want to thank the federal government for that,” said Goertzen, who is also Steinbach’s mayor.

Clarke said contract prices for infrastructure work are lower in 2016 than in past years when so much work was generated to repair damage caused by severe flooding.

There was no official participation by the city of Winnipeg at the morning announcement, even though the Manitoba capital was a big beneficiary.

Bowman said in an interview later that the AMM’s Goertzen represented the city at the event, which the mayor noted was held outside of Winnipeg. No snub was intended, he added.