Transportation committee earmarks $41.5 million for rurals in draft budget

CITY HALL – The city’s Transportation committee approved its portion of the draft budget for 2021, which includes $335.7 million in capital funding for transportation infrastructure, like roads, bridges, sidewalks, pathways and intersection improvements, along with investments in integrated infrastructure projects and lifecycle replacements of the city’s fleet.

The capital budget provides $142.9 million for integrated projects that reduce costs by coordinating underground infrastructure work with rehabilitation of roads, curbs, sidewalks and pathways. There would be $79.3 million for new transportation infrastructure, including $18.9 million to add cycling and pedestrian facilities while widening Bank Street in Findlay Creek, as well as $9.7 million to add cycling and pedestrian facilities and increase safety at VIA Rail crossings while widening Strandherd Drive.

Rural areas would benefit from an investment of $41.5 million in infrastructure – mostly related to transportation – on par with the four-year average of $39.7 million.

“The city continues to make roads safer for all users, investing $4 million in Strategic Road Safety Action Plan projects that seek to reduce fatalities and major injury collisions through education, enforcement and engineering,” city staff released in a statement yesterday (Dec. 2). “This is in addition to $12 million to improve intersections, add traffic signals and address safety concerns in growing areas.”

The roads operations budget would increase by $2.8 million, bringing the total to $131.5 million. This increase would help the city continue to meet council-approved winter maintenance quality standards for roads, sidewalks and pathways. Thanks to improvements made last winter, based on a service review, the city is forecasting a small surplus in roads operations by the end of 2020.

Recommendations from the Transportation meeting requiring approval will rise to council on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

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