April 20, 2022
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB--NDP MLA for Flin Flon Tom Lindsey introduced a bill today which would strengthen provincial laws to keep highways clear of snow, so that families can safely travel.
“Living in the north, I know families drive on highways that are covered in snow and slick with ice all the time. These standards should be more than just guidelines or targets—they should be the law,” said Lindsey. “The PCs have cut and privatized snow plowing services, and highway safety has suffered as a result. But the NDP is fighting for safer roads for northern families because we believe everyone should be able to travel without fear, no matter where they live.”
Bill 229, The Transportation Infrastructure Amendment Act, establishes in legislation standards for provincial snow clearing services. These standards, which currently exist only in policy, set out timelines in which certain highways and roadways are to be cleared of snow and sanded. It also mandates the government to publicly report on its compliance with these standards.
A major highway must be cleared of snow and sanded within four hours of the end of a storm. Highways that are part of the regional network must be prepared within eight hours of plowing and gravel or service roads must be plowed within 48 hours of a storm ending.
In 2021 the PC government sold off dozens of plow trucks and other equipment for winter road maintenance. Since then, the province has contracted out road services at higher prices, cut positions for maintenance workers and offloaded provincial responsibilities onto municipalities.
“Putting the safety of families at risk in order to make budget cuts is wrong,” said Lindsey. “The PC’s have spent years undermining our highway system but Bill 229 would start to reverse the damage they have caused. It’s time to put families’ safety first.”