City to double spending on road repaving in 2022

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The City of Ottawa plans to more than double its spending on repaving existing roads next year, mainly by issuing a debt of $ 39 million.

The 2022 draft budget projects that $ 76 million will be spent on resurfacing a long list of roads, up from $ 36.9 million in 2021. Projections show that spending is expected to return to more normal levels in the coming years. to come.

The city manages more than 6,000 kilometers of roads, the transport committee said on Wednesday as it approved its share of the proposed budget.

City councilors regularly hear complaints from residents about the condition of the city’s roads: cracks, potholes and the way they are repaired.

While city staff couldn’t immediately say how much is being spent on vehicle damage claims, this was one of the concerns of resident Ken Holmes, who gives a presentation every year at budget time.

He welcomed the “substantial” increase but urged the city to maintain the maintenance so that it does not pay more in the long run.

Low cost of debt

The budget allocated $ 133 million for road renewal next year, including upgrading rural roads and rebuilding roads during major sewer and water pipe replacements.

Many residential streets have been patched over the years and are in poor condition, Innes County. Laura Dudas pointed out.

The city has focused on repairing collector and arterial roads, and Dudas said she hopes small local streets will soon have their turn.

The city was able to speed up planned repaving projects by using some of the federal gas tax revenue and taking advantage of low debt costs, said chief financial officer Wendy Stephanson.

“We are able to issue debt at a very low price so that we can honor it as soon as possible,” she told reporters.

Location for bicycle network

Municipality of the River district. Riley Brockington said her residents would appreciate the fixes, but wondered why the city was going into debt for the work and not commensurately increasing spending on bicycles and sidewalks.

The City of Ottawa will devote $ 10 million to new cycling infrastructure and $ 2 million to the rehabilitation of existing trails in 2022. Many councilors have expressed interest in an idea put forward on Wednesday by economist Neil Saravanamootoo to accelerate considerably that.

During his public delegation, Saravanamootoo suggested that the city take out a low-interest loan and spend $ 250 million to build the desired network for residents now, instead of slowly over 25 years.

This, he argued, would reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions while reducing wear and tear on the road network.

“We can follow in the footsteps of other cities that have decided to develop their entire cycling network in a few years,” said Saravanamootoo, pointing to Montreal, Paris, Chicago and Milan.

City staff said it was possible to push forward with plans to expand the cycling network, but could be limited by the capacity of the construction industry. The advisers took no specific action at the meeting to follow up on the idea.

The transportation portion of the city’s budget, which represents $ 338 million for operations and $ 427 million for capital projects, will go to full council on December 8.

Councilors Jeff Leiper and Mathieu Fleury expressed their dissent on the capital expenditure for transportation.

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