Regina’s city council is eager to gets its hands on millions of infrastructure dollars announced last week.
At a special city council meeting on Monday, councillors unanimously approved a list of nine projects to submit for the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) and the Canada Water Wastewater Fund (CWWF).
Projects to be submitted under the PTIF:
- Arcola express bus route ($1.725 M)
- One new paratransit bus to increase the spare ratio ($130,000)
- Improvements to transit customer service and safety ($1.548 M)
- Transit technology and software improvements ($1.2 M)
- Three new buses to add to the fleet ($1.725 M)
- The replacement of 17 buses and nine paratransit buses ($10.945 M)
Projects submitted under the CWWF:
- Upgrades to the McCarthy Boulevard Pump Station (approx. $15 M)
- Wastewater and storm water collection system rehabilitation (approx. $5 M)
- Wastewater collection and drainage system upgrades ($7.4 M)
The pump station upgrades are necessary to meet regulatory requirements set out by the Water Security Agency, and will allow the city to stop releasing untreated wastewater downstream.
Each councillor who spoke at the meeting seemed very happy about the prospect of getting the money to finish these projects.
Coun. Jerry Flegel called it “a bag of money” and said it will benefit the whole city.
Coun. Shawn Fraser seemed especially happy about the Arcola express bus route, saying at the moment it takes more than 50 minutes to get from the Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre to downtown and this improvement would cut that down to about 15 minutes.
All together the projects will cost about $44,673,000 with approximately 35 per cent of that coming from the City of Regina. The PTIF would be funded half from the federal government and half from the city. The CWWF would be half from the federal government, 25 per cent from the province, and 25 per cent from the city.
Mayor Michael Fougere was very pleased with the prospect of having the projects partially paid for and the unanimous approval by city council.
“The projects outlined in the report are absolutely critical for our growth – critical for health and safety of not just Regina, but of course downstream in the case of the wastewater and water issues.
The money from the city will be taken out of two reserve funds.
“This will mean, of course, that there’s no direct impact on tax payers today because we have money in reserve for this and we’re not taking any more debt as well,” said Fougere.
Fougere estimates it would take $2 billion dollars to bring all infrastructure in the city up to where they’d like it.
“How we’re going to get to the end of this, difficult to say when only $0.08 of every tax dollar collected by all orders of government go to municipalities. We can’t do it on our own, that’s why partnership is so, so important.”
All of the projects are ready to go, and if they are all approved, they’ll have to be finished by the end of March 2018.