A car driving on a road with a pothole.
A new CAA study outlines the real cost of poor roads for Manitoba drivers
If you’re not grumbling about the weather in Manitoba, you are probably cursing the potholes. But rickety roads are actually costing drivers more than a few choice words.
New research by CAA revealed Canadians are paying $3 billion every year in higher vehicle operating costs as a result of poor roads. For Manitobans, that means about $100 per vehicle annually.
Every dollar counts
CAA’s study, the first of its kind in Canada, shows the direct cost to vehicle owners rather than focusing on government allocations to repair crumbling roads. The dollar amount includes more vehicle repairs, higher maintenance fees and other operating expenses, which add up to more than $1,250 over the lifespan of the average Manitoba car.
By analyzing everything from highways to arterial roads, the report found close to half (43%) of Canadian roads are rated as below average. Compared to the rest of Canada, Manitoba is home to more “very poor” highways than any province except Ontario.
“This should be concerning to every Manitoban,” says Heather Mack, manager of government and community relations at CAA Manitoba. “Our transportation infrastructure not only impacts our daily travels, but it can also stifle economic growth. We’re a trading province and we need reliable roads.”
The road ahead
By identifying the cost of poor roads, CAA hopes to encourage more government investment in smart infrastructure. Mack says CAA Manitoba would like to see action in these key areas to deal with infrastructure pressures:
- Dedicated, long-term funding for municipalities. According to the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the province’s cities and towns are responsible for maintaining approximately 60% of public infrastructure, but they don’t have the revenue tools to fund desperately needed repairs.
- Multi-year capital budget planning. Manitoba should produce multi-year capital plans, as is best practice in other jurisdictions, in order to provide predictability forecasts and an overview of priorities.
- Investment in infrastructure innovation. Innovation requires long-term investment, yet research budgets are often the first things to be cut in tough fiscal times. Government procurement also needs to be flexible for innovation: As new materials and processes enter the market, government needs to be able to respond.
Investment in smart infrastructure can actually save the government money. According to CAA’s study, spending $1 on pavement preservation today eliminates or delays $6 to $10 of spending on future rehabilitation or reconstruction.
To quote Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, prevention is cheaper than the cure: “Waiting for the road bridge to collapse is much more expensive than buttressing the bridge before it collapses.”
CAA’s Worst Roads
As voted by you, here are Manitoba’s worst roads for 2021:
- Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg
- Provincial Road 307
- Provincial Road 250
- Provincial Road 450, Winchester
- Provincial Trunk Hwy 34
- Saskatchewan Avenue, Winnipeg
- Saint James Street, Winnipeg
- Sherwin Road, Winnipeg
- Waller Avenue, Winnipeg
- Empress Street, Winnipeg