To the editor:
Thunder Bay’s roads are falling apart faster than the city is repairing them.
Now a new report says the problem is going to get even worse. That’s because city councillors haven’t increased the roads budget to match big jumps in the costs of repairing our roads.
The report was prepared for the city’s infrastructure department. It says bid prices from contractors have jumped by up to 65 per cent over the last 12 years. (No explanation is given for why contractor’s bids have climbed so high. Interestingly, inflation over the period was only 22 per cent.)
Here’s what the report says about city council spending on roads over the last 12 years: “Annual budgets for pavement rehabilitation in this time have ranged between $7-1O million per year with occasional dips below this range in 2010 and 2011. Since 2005, the recommended amount to spend on pavement rehabilitation has been $10M, updated to $12M in 2010.”
So for more than a decade now city councillors have spent millions less than they should have on roads.
That’s costing us all. The new report says in the year 2000 just 0.2 per cent of our roads needed total re-construction. By 2015 that jumped to 4.2 per cent. The report notes that a total re-build costs three times the price of rehabilitation.
The report lands on councillors’ desks just as they begin deliberations on the 2018 budget. The report says administration now recommends the annual budget for roads jump from the $12M a year to $13M. Will council now pay attention?
Don’t bet on it. This is the crowd that bet $4 million on an event centre instead of roads and now wants to hand over another $5 million to pay for a new art gallery on the waterfront.
They have not been good stewards of our taxes.