Infrastructure Minister’s briefing binder says predictable investment top priority

Infrastructure Minister’s briefing binder says predictable investment top priority

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler has been given 15 priorities for his portfolio and topping the list is improved infrastructure investments.

The minister chief responsibility, according to the binder, is “ensuring consistent, guarantee d and predictable infrastructure investments to enable better civic and business planning and improve our return on investment.”

Flood protection (particularly around Lake Manitoba), reducing the “soft costs” of building infrastructure and finding more efficient ways to operate and maintain highways and roads follow closely behind.

The Pallister government released the briefing binders, compiled for the ministers after the fall 2019 election, this week as part of its “transparency” commitment.

The briefing notes that the department has heard complaints for highways improvements from municipalities, the public and the heavy construction industry. The Highways Capital budget has fallen from $588 million in 2015-16 to $350 million.

A discussion of strategic priorities sets out the parameters of the Pricewaterhouse Coopers review of Manitoba Infrastructure’s “service delivery modernization” project, asking “what lines of business should we be in?” It further asks for a review on where dollars now are spent and whether the department’s expenditures get the best return and value for money in a sustainable manner.

Amongst the top items the binder contains as departmental issues are the multi-year project to upgrade Highway 75 – described as having “well surpassed the expected life of the pavement surface”– and the South Perimeter, one of Manitoba’s most important economic corridors that is used by more than 30,000 vehicles per day.

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