Manitoba books show reduced core infrastructure investment for 2017/18

MHCA
December 21, 2017
By MHCA
December 21, 2017 - The provincial government’s latest financial report indicates the province is on track to invest significantly less in core infrastructure for the period ending March 31, 2018, in both the highways capital and the municipal & local infrastructure programs.

“We are very concerned about the numbers we are seeing, to date,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said.

Lorenc was referring to the Manitoba 2017/18 Second Quarter Report covering budget period April to September 2017.

“Having said that, the report covers expenditures ending September 30, 2017 and so we remain hopeful, and strongly encourage the provincial government to make every effort to keep the investment commitments laid out in the budget when it was released last spring,” said Lorenc.

The second quarterly report of the provincial revenues and expenditures indicates that highways capital investment is forecasted to come in at $478 million at the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2018. That would be some $32 million less than was estimated in the provincial budget. In total, Manitoba Infrastructure is forecasted to underspend its capital budget, including water-related infrastructure, by $40 million.

Further, in the area of municipal and local infrastructure, the latest financial report shows that the forecast sits at $209 million in expenditures, or $61 million less than was estimated in the budget.

“The MHCA will be asking political and department officials for clarification of the investment commitment and program intentions, for the remaining months left to this fiscal year,” Lorenc said.

That discussion will include the need to return to the more broadly accepted definition of strategic ‘core’ infrastructure – namely, roads, highways, bridges and water and sewer – reflecting the fact that the investment in those areas has a verifiable, and highest return on investment to the economy, he noted.

“We are concerned that the definition of ‘strategic infrastructure’ has been so widely expanded as to dilute the value of a strategic investment focus associated with core infrastructure,” Lorenc said.

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