Councillors battle over which road projects will get green light for funding
Published Monday, March 16, 2015 9:21AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 17, 2015 9:44AM CST
A fight over funding major Winnipeg roads and bridges could be pitting city councillors against each other.
St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard said $5.2 million for work on an underpass or overpass at Marion and Archibald streets has been cut from the budget.
Allard questions if the money has ended up in a pot to help build the Waverley and Taylor underpass instead.
"I'm worried that the 2015 capital budget may be robbing St Boniface," he said.
But River Heights Coun. John Orlikow, who sits in the mayor's cabinet, tweeted the funding for Marion still exists if Ottawa gets on board with the project.
At the same time, Orlikow is continuing to push for the underpass at Waverley and Taylor.
Meanwhile, councillor Mike Pagtakhan is organizing councillor tours of the aging Arlington Street bridge, urging the city to build a replacement.
It is set to be decommissioned by 2020.
There were six projects approved by council last year as priorities to receive federal funding.
Along with a Marion and Archibald project, the others are the Waverley underpass, extending Chief Peguis Trail to Route 90, replacing the Louise Bridge, Extending William Clement Parkway to Wilkes and widening Kenaston.
Now the mayor and his inner circle say even with money from Ottawa, the cash-strapped city can't afford to construct all six.
"Something is going to fall by the wayside,” said Coun. Janice Lukes (St. Norbert).
Mayor Brian Bowman said they will choose the ones on the list that meet the city's needs, based on “what's going to be the best bang for the buck with the money.”
Now, the lobby effort is underway at city hall.
Councillors are pushing hard to ensure the projects impacting their ward make the final list.
Mayor Bowman said a closed-door meeting with all members of council will be held to discuss all of this and work out which projects they should move forward with, but no date has been scheduled for that meeting yet.
Once that meeting is completed, the final list will be taken to council for a vote, said Bowman.
- with a report from Jeff Keele