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Infrastructure injection to smooth out Manitoba highway problems

WINNIPEG, Man. -- Fixing Manitoba's highway infrastructure has stepped to the forefront following the completion of...

WINNIPEG, Man. — Fixing Manitoba’s highway infrastructure has stepped to the forefront following the completion of upgrades to health care and educational facilities.

The province’s Premier Gary Doer announced an additional $300 million investment in highway capital and maintenance over the next two budget years, including a more robust redevelopment plan for Hwy. 75.

“When we came into office in 1999, our hospitals, schools and universities were in bad shape and we needed to rebuild them,” said Doer. “There were fruit flies in our hospital operating rooms and our colleges were in need of expansion. Now, with modern facilities in our health-care and education systems including a new downtown campus for Red River College, we have an opportunity to invest some of the province’s growing revenues into our highways and roads.”

Manitoba currently invests $257 million each year in highway capital and maintenance. Today’s commitment will increase annual provincial highway investments to almost $400 million a year a 50 per cent increase and $2 billion over the next five years.

“I’ve seen first hand the challenges that Manitoba’s extreme weather poses to our roads. Manitobans say fix them,” noted Doer. “I agree and we will be doing this by building on the investments we’ve made so far into our transportation infrastructure.”

The fall announcement enables the government to put these investments to work for the 2007 construction season. New projects will be announced as they are tendered over the coming months including additional redevelopment work on Hwy. 75 beginning with north bound lanes from Letellier to Winnipeg, northern roads and Hwys. 1, 59, 16 and 9.

Doer noted that as part of today’s announcement, a long-term plan for the redevelopment of Manitoba highways will be released this fall.

Manitoba currently has the second-lowest gas tax among provinces, but as required by Manitoba law every cent collected through gas tax in Manitoba must be invested in roads and transit.

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