Funds allocated for road improvements not enough say farmers

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WINNIPEG, Man. — Federal Agricultural Minister Lyle Vanclief recently went to Winnipeg to announce a federal-provincial program to fix rural roads in Manitoba.

Ottawa will contribute $33.8 million over five years to the prairie grain roads program in Manitoba. The provincial and municipal governments announced they intend to match the total.

Actually, Manitoba will has been awarded a 19 per cent of the total $175 million being offered to all four western provinces to fix provincial secondary highways and municipal roads.

Farmers have been forced to drive farther with heavier loads as most grain elevators that aren’t on main rail lines have closed in the province. This has added a lot of stress to an already poor transport network. Vanclief says the money is part of his government’s commitment to farm aid in Canada.

Manitoba farmers remain wary of the federal government’s sincerity. One farmer told local media the government is using a paltry amount of what it collects in taxes each year and it means the farmers lose even more.

“Farmers are having to pay both sides again, through increased fuel costs, increased maintenance increased wear and tear on farm trucks,” says David Rolfe, a grain and hog farmer from Elgin, Man. “The money is welcome, but it’s plain and simple, it’s not enough.”

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