Manitoba reaches record infrastructure investment
By Andrew Macklin
October 1, 2015 – The Manitoba government’s second annual report on building and upgrading core infrastructure supported by targeted PST revenue shows a record investment of $1.032 billion in 2014-15, a 22 per cent increase over the previous year.
“This is the first time the province has invested more than $1 billion in building better roads, bridges and flood protection,” said Premier Greg Selinger. “Investing in core infrastructure creates good jobs today, strengthens our economy and is an investment in our children’s future.”
In 2014, the Manitoba government launched a five-year, $5.5-billion core infrastructure plan to stimulate the economy by improving provincial roads, highways, bridges and flood protection as well as helping municipalities improve their infrastructure. The Conference Board of Canada reviewed the plan and projected it would boost the provincial economy by $6.3 billion, hike exports by $5.3 billion and help create 58,900 jobs over five years.
The report for 2014-15 shows the investments in infrastructure boosted the economy by $1.31 billion, advanced exports by $699 million, increased retail sales by $225 million and created more than 9,755 jobs, the premier said. Specific investments included a total of $692 million for roads and highways:
- $535 million on major projects such as 176 kilometres of PTH 6, 141 km of PTH 10, PTH 12 to Steinbach and 45 km of PTH 59 north;
- $145 million on maintenance and preservation including 424 km of seal coating and 344 km of microsurfacing; and
- $16 million for other infrastructure such as air and marine ports and northern runways.
“These investments go far beyond just building more highways and overpasses. They equip our trade-reliant economy with a transportation system that makes us more productive and competitive as we grow our global trade footprint,” said Chris Lorenc, president, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association. “Think about our major trade routes, such as Highway 75 and the $19 billion of north-south trade it supports, or the Perimeter Highway connected to the Trans-Canada Highway, which links our country coast to coast, or CentrePort Canada Way, which moves products more cost-effectively. These important systems help sustain the 240,000 jobs in Manitoba directly or indirectly enabled by trade.”
“These infrastructure investments are investments in the trade corridors that connect Manitoba to opportunity across North America,” said Terry Shaw, executive director, Manitoba Trucking Association. “These expenditures are essential for allowing us to do our job of connecting Manitoba wholesalers, manufacturers, contractors and farmers to markets across the continent. Our provincial economy is dependent on trade and trade is dependent on safe and efficient pathways. We welcome these record infrastructure investments.”
In 2013, the province committed to matching additional revenues from the PST increase with new investments in core infrastructure, over and above the $729 million invested prior to the PST increase. In 2014-15, the additional point of PST raised $275 million and set the target to meet the commitment to $1.004 billion. The total provincial investment of $1.032 billion exceeded that target by $28 million.
The 2014-15 Core Infrastructure Report and Conference Board of Canada analysis are available at www.steadygrowth.ca.