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Infrastructure funding held up in some provinces


The federal government and Nova Scotia signed a bilateral agreement on August 16 that releases $238 million for transportation and infrastructure projects.

Media reports the day before pointed out that the Canadian government still had not signed similar bilateral funding agreements with several provinces, although initially the government had wanted agreements signed by the middle of this summer so that work could commence in this construction season. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories have still not signed agreements.

After the Liberals and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power last fall, they announced an unprecedented infusion of $120 billion over the next 10 years to support infrastructure, hoping that the funding would stimulate jobs and the economy.The first phase of that funding provides 11.9 billion for transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure projects.

According to a report by Jordan Press published by CTV news, each province has to work with the municipalities to decide which projects will be put forward for funding before an agreement with the federal government can be signed. The province needs to have at least 60% of their allocated funding pinpointed for specific projects before they can sign the agreement.

But selecting specific projects hasn’t been easy since the deadline for finishing construction is March 2018, which makes for short timelines. Some say the haste to allocate the funding could cause municipalities to rush their proposals and not do due diligence.

The just-signed Canada-Nova Scotia agreement identified 96 projects for funding, 73 of which were water and wastewater projects. They included a $9 million project to rehabilitate water mains in Cape Breton, $8 million for the Northwest Arm sewer system rehabilitation in Halifax, and $3.8 million to replace a water reservoir in the Town of Amherst. The remaining 23 projects allocated funding were transportation projects, mostly for buses, ferries, security and new technologies.  To see the complete list of projects, click here.

To read a CTV/Canadian Press report on August 15, click here.

To read the Press release about the Canada-Nova Scotia Funding Agreement of August 16, click here.