Implementing the new National Infrastructure Program
At ACEC's 4th Annual Government Relations Day in Ottawa, February 22-23 member firms learned first-hand how the federal government intends to implement its new six-year $3.65 billion National Infrastr...
At ACEC’s 4th Annual Government Relations Day in Ottawa, February 22-23 member firms learned first-hand how the federal government intends to implement its new six-year $3.65 billion National Infrastructure Program.
In his presentation, Guy Bdard of the federal Treasury Board articulated the new program’s goals, objectives, target activities, selection criteria and operating modalities. He identified municipal governments as the primary client for this new program i.e. they will be responsible for proposing most of the projects.
Goals and objectives: to improve urban and rural municipal infrastructure in Canada through investments that enhance the environment, support long-term economic growth and strengthen community infrastructure.
Target activities: the program’s primary focus is on water and wastewater systems, water management, solid waste management, recycling and energy efficiency of local government buildings and facilities. A secondary program focus is on local transportation and affordable housing.
Project applications must:
Be submitted by an eligible applicant; Propose the construction, renewal, expansion or material enhancement of a fixed capital asset for public use or benefit;
the project contributes to the overall program objectives
the project fits into a local development plan
the project uses best available, economically feasible technology
the applicant intends to meet environmental assessment requirements
the financial support of the program is required
The project must:
enhance quality of the environment
support long-term economic growth
improve community infrastructure
build 21st century infrastructure
Public private partnerships:
select few projects but the right ones
large scale/high-volume projects
clear benefit to the public good
transparent accountability regime
leveraging private sector funds for public benefit
no cookie-cutter approach
Eligible project costs:
professional costs related to design, engineering, manufacturing or construction of an infrastructure
Other costs approved by management committees
ongoing operational costs
feasibility and planning studies
ongoing repair and maintenance
Additional information is at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ino-bni/
GREEN MUNICIPAL FUNDS
Member firms also learned about the creation of Green Municipal Funds announced first in the February 2000 federal budget. They are designed to support projects that improve air, water and soil quality and protect the climate. Created in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the program includes a five-year “Green Enabling Fund” of $25 million to fund up to 50% of feasibility study costs, and a “Green Municipal Investment Fund,” which is a $100 million revolving fund for project implementation (loans, loan guarantees, pilot projects). Michael Wiggin of the FCM provided the following program details.
Municipally owned, leased and/or operated buildings and facilities — to reduce demand for energy, energy services and water, and the generation of municipal solid waste;
Water distribution and wastewater facilities — to increase the process efficiency, and environmental and cost-effectiveness of water distribution and wastewater treatment systems, including reducing demand for energy and energy services, and water volumes through water conservation and storm run-off;
Waste management — to increase the process efficiency and environmental effectiveness of waste management systems, including increasing the energy efficiency of municipal solid waste services and decreasing the volume of municipal solid waste going to landfills and incinerators
Public transit — to increase vehicle efficiency and the use of innovative technologies as well as more effective transportation systems
Renewable energy technologies — to increase the use of renewable energy in municipal operations
Eligible costs for the Enabling Fund:
All goods and services required to assess the technical, engineering, environmental and/or financial feasibility of an eligible project
Eligible costs for the Investment Fund
Capital costs of acquiring, developing, constructing, modernizing or leasing energy, energy services, public transit, water, wastewater treatment and waste diversion systems
Professional fees associated with capital costs
Investment Fund’s financial services:
interest-bearing loans of four to 10 years at no lower than the Bank of Canada bond rate
loan guarantees (for a fee)
loans and loan guarantees generally not to exceed 15 per cent of eligible costs
Details on project selection criteria, the application process and governance of the Green Municipal Funds can be found at www.fcm.ca. Current opening for registering “intents to apply” was February 19, 2001. The application deadline is April 13.
Program allocation targets