Canadian Consulting Engineer

Municipalities push for money for infrastructure

Anticipating - and hoping - that Canada's forthcoming federal budget will include dollars for infrastructure, &nbsp...

January 19, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Anticipating – and hoping – that Canada’s forthcoming federal budget will include dollars for infrastructure,  the Federation of Canadian Municipalities provided a list of 1,000  “shovel ready” projects and sent the following open letter last week to the heads of Canada’s federal and provincial governments:

OTTAWA, Jan. 15 – The mayors of Canada´s 22 largest cities are calling on the federal and provincial governments to join them in fighting the recession by quickly getting new funding to infrastructure projects.

That was the message FCM´s Big City Mayors Caucus (BCMC) delivered today at their meeting in Ottawa ahead of Friday’s First Ministers´ meeting.

“Infrastructure spending is the best tool we have to fight the recession and create jobs,” said Carl Zehr, chair of the BCMC and Mayor of Kitchener, Ont. “Cities are wasting no time in putting people to work on thousands of capital projects across the country. This year alone municipal capital budgets will deliver more than two per cent of the GDP.”

“We are ready to put even more people to work and put the economy on the road to recovery. In response to an invitation by the federal government, municipalities have put together a list of more than 1,000 additional shovel-ready projects that would generate more than 150,000 new jobs,” Zehr added. “But to counter a recession this year we need a program that gets money to projects in time for the spring construction season. A program based on the gas tax funding model is the best tool for the job.”

The mayors say that, while important, the Building Canada Fund (BCF) is too slow to deliver the stimulus needed to fight the recession and create jobs. Instead, the federal government must incorporate the highly-efficient gas tax funding model into a national stimulus package that increases and accelerates the flow of funding to local govern¬ments. This will deliver a significant and immediate economic boost to cities and communities across the country.

“Our city is boosting infrastructure spending by 24 per cent over the next three years,” said Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay.

“Intensified infrastructure spending will deliver a double dividend,” Tremblay added. “By investing in our physical foundations- public transit, roads, bridges, water systems, as well as our libraries, community centres and recreational facilities- we will create new jobs today while building cities that can compete for talent and investment tomorrow.”

Toronto mayor David Miller said his city will create and maintain 300,000 new jobs over the next decade by investing in green infrastructure. “We want to jump-start those projects and boost our economy now with new investments in light-rail transit. Additional projects are ready to go now-but we need funding right away.”

“A fast-moving program, coupled with new dollars for affordable housing and public transit, will create jobs and help cities provide services that Canadians count on in good times and bad,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Our economy, our environment, and our citizens will all benefit.”

The mayors called on Canada´s first ministers, meeting tomorrow, to support enhancing a funding model based on the efficient, fair and equitable Gas Tax Fund to get new money to municipalities immediately for infrastructure projects that will create jobs and strengthen Canada´s foundation for the future.

See http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/Open%20letter1NDT-1152009-5544.pdf

For a list of the 1,000 shovel ready projets, see:

http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/FCM%20Shovel%20Ready%20report_list%20En%20web1NHM-1142009-572.pdf


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