Councillors debate if gas tax money should go toward local roads

By | April 22, 2019

Darryl Moar lives across from a sinkhole on Pacific Avenue.

”It’s not fun, ‘cause the rest of the street is so bad,” said Moar.

In his neighbhourhood, Ron Bird says you have to watch out for potholes.

”It can cause a lot of damage, ball joints suspensions and all that stuff,” said Bird.

The city slashed the local streets budget this year following a funding dispute with the province.

There could be extra cash available to repair some of the roads that fell by the wayside, but Winnipeg city council might not be unified on how to spend it

Earlier this month the mayor’s executive policy committee voted to use more than $40 million in federal gas tax cash in the following areas:

  • $20 million for residential roads in 2019 (including active transportation)
  • $20 million for residential roads in 2020 (including active transportation)
  • $2.5 million for street safety infrastructure.

City councillor Janice Lukes says she’ll support the EPC motion when it goes to city council for a final vote later this week.

“If we’re continuing to put millions and millions into both active transportation and roads, then we need to have a comprehensive road safety strategy,” said Lukes.

Not everyone agrees.

Charleswood councillor Kevin Klein says all of the funds should go to local roads only and not until 2020. Klein says it’s too late this year for the city to get the work out the door and get a good price from the industry.

“That’s why we do our bids in the winter, we ask for our bids in the winter the prices are lower, they know their schedule better, now we would be paying top dollar,” said Klein.

Point Douglas councillor Vivian Santos says the EPC motion neglects other key priorities. She’ll be bringing a motion of her own to council, to use some of the money for community services.

“I don’t want to put it all into concrete, we have you know dilapidated community centres, and some facilities and parks that need some TLC,” said Santos.

The decision at EPC wasn’t unanimous either. St. Vital councillor Brian Mayes voted against the motion.

As Darryl Moar stares at the sinkhole on his street, he has his own opinion — pour it all into residential streets and don’t wait.

“This is an example of what the street is going to be like if they don’t fix it anytime soon,” said Moar.