Not even a week after the election, and before he’s even been sworn in as Premier, Brian Pallister is already facing questions about infrastructure spending.
The provinces received letters from federal Infrastructure Minister Amerjeet Sohi, informing them the first phase of the Liberals’ infrastructure program will cover the cost of new projects, as long as they are completed within three years.
Manitoba’s slice of the overall pie isn’t huge, but it still totals roughly $178-million, earmarked for rapid transit spending and sewer upgrades.
Manitoba Heavy Construction Association boss Chris Lorenc hopes Pallister will agree to move ahead on projects already in the pipeline.
“I don’t think that there’s any option, really, for any level of government, other than to wisely invest dollars that they do have,” Lorenc explains. “One of the things we will be encouraging Premier-elect Pallister is to ensure that an agreement is signed between Manitoba and Canada as soon as possible so that the priorities can be addressed.”
Lorenc points out that we are still very early in the process, and pin-pointing which projects will receive funding in the future depends on how the priorities of each government align.
“I’m not sure that it’s quite clear at this point the manner in which the federal government will want to roll out its infrastructure program. We’re in a bit of a state of flux, but I know that investing in infrastructure is a priority for the new provincial government.”
Pallister will officially take over as Premier on Tuesday, May 3.