Building, repairing and expanding Manitoba’s infrastructure creates good jobs and grows our economy.
That’s why our government will work with federal and municipal governments to invest a total of $5.5 billion over the next five years in core infrastructure projects.
Manitobans are already seeing the plan. Along with other projects announced since our fall throne speech, the recent opening of CentrePort Canada Way, reconstruction of Highway 75 to interstate standards for floods and the start of the reconstruction of the southwest Perimeter Highway will mean 10,000 new jobs across the province.
It’s somewhat baffling to me to see the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister criticizing this government’s commitment to infrastructure given his own poor record.
From 2010 to 2012 the NDP invested $1.6 billion in better roads and safer bridges. That’s how much the Filmon government, in which Mr. Pallister was a cabinet minister, invested during the entire decade in the 1990s.
Under Filmon, the PCs raised the gas tax by 44 per cent and only increased investment in highways by a paltry four per cent.
In fact, when they raised the tax in 1993, they actually cut the budget for roads and bridges.
Unlike Brian Pallister, we will continue to work with municipalities, business leaders and workers to identify key infrastructure projects to be included in our five-year building plan.
The one cent on the dollar increase to the PST was a difficult decision to make because we know Manitobans work hard for their money but we knew that these investments in roads, bridges, flood protection and clean water couldn’t come at the expense of things Manitoba families rely on like schools and hospitals.
Recently, I visited Vincent Massey High School in Brandon to listen to what students thought our priorities should be for Budget 2014.
I asked them what would help them decide to stay in Brandon? Their answer: good jobs with good wages.
Our balanced approach will allow us to grow our province and ensure that our young people are able to get those good jobs and build their future right here in Manitoba.
Minister of Finance
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 17, 2013