The Manitoba government has announced that it is creating a blue-ribbon infrastructure panel to ensure Manitobans get the roads and highways they need.

“Our government is ready to partner with communities across the province to build the roads, bridges, highways, vertical infrastructure and water infrastructure of the future,” said Premier Wab Kinew. “This group will listen to voices across the province as we prioritize the projects that will grow our economy, create jobs and deliver for families. It is time to take the politics out of infrastructure development and start building up Manitoba.”

The blue-ribbon panel will be led by co-chairs Carly Edmundson, president and CEO of CentrePort Canada, and Scott Phillips, a councillor for the Rural Municipality of Sifton. Working with experts in the industry, these co-chairs will set the terms of reference for infrastructure projects in Manitoba, the premier said, adding more panel members will be announced at a later date. The panel will head up the Manitoba government’s infrastructure strategy to create jobs, support economic growth and help municipalities grow in the best way possible, said Kinew. The announcement is a critical step in the Manitoba government’s commitment to create 10,000 new jobs for Manitobans, the premier noted.

“After seven years of funding freezes and playing games with infrastructure spending, Manitobans have elected a government that listens to experts and works with communities,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Lisa Naylor. “I am excited to get to work on the important project of building the infrastructure that Manitobans need.”

The Manitoba government also announced the creation of a Pembina Valley regional cabinet office, led by former mayor of Morden Brandon Burley. The office will provide a direct link to the provincial government for families, businesses and community organizations to help grow the economy and improve health care in southern Manitoba, the premier said.