MHCA’s budget push-back messages make an impression
May 23, 2018 - MHCA’s campaign to drive home to the taxpayers the real cost of cutting the highways budget has made an impact on government.
“We are not saying this battle is won, but we are laying good groundwork for our next steps,” said MHCA president Chris Lorenc.
Lorenc reported to the MHCA Executive Committee last Wednesday on the public messaging campaign, and the response heard from government and the public, to push back on the provincial cuts to the highways budget. Since 2016, Manitoba’s investment in highways has been reduced by $330 million — $238 million in budget cuts, and $92 million in under-expenditure over two budgets to date.
“The province would like you to think we’ve got our numbers wrong — we know they have written as much in a letter to our members — but the figures are all there for anyone to extract, from Manitoba Finance documents,” Lorenc said.
MHCA has used budgeted and actual expenditures in Manitoba Infrastructure’s highways budget from 2016 to 2018 to produce the $330-million estimated reduction number.
“Moreover, we have shared at multiple meetings and in writing, our multi-year budget analyses, and the impacts of unprecedented cuts to the highways capital program to the economy and lost income to industry’s workers,” Lorenc noted. “Not once have they suggested any error. In fact, they acknowledged having no argument with our numbers.”
Public messaging, through prime-time radio ads and billboards at busy intersections in four cities, is informing Manitobans on the full consequences of the cuts and asks them to call the Premier, the ministers of Finance and Infrastructure and their MLAs, to tell them to fix our roads.
Social media ads posted on Twitter and Facebook started this week, as well. Further, the MHCA has an informative FixOurRoads tab on its website, for background information on both the gravity of the cuts and the importance of good roads to the economy and to traveling Manitobans. Investment in strategic infrastructure has significant return to the economy; one estimate (Gov. of Canada) pegged the return at $1.60 for every $1 invested.
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