Municipalities strengthen call for central role in infrastructure plan
November 28, 2016
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
Fresh off a four-day marathon of meetings on Parliament Hill, municipal leaders say they found an emerging consensus among parliamentarians - that municipalities will need to play a central role to make the landmark federal infrastructure plan work for Canadians.
"The federal government's infrastructure plan is really a huge opportunity to strengthen Canada by strengthening our communities. But unlocking that potential depends on getting Phase 2 right, and that means building it around local needs and local expertise," said Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President Clark Somerville.
The FCM-led delegation of nearly 100 local leaders from across Canada held 190 meetings with parliamentarians, including 14 cabinet ministers. Discussions focused on the Phase 2 design of the federal plan to invest in infrastructure across Canada. This month's Fall Economic Statement grew Phase 2 to an unprecedented $81 billion investment over 11 years in transit, social, green and other infrastructure priorities.
"We just met with 190 parliamentarians from all regions and political stripes, and they brought a tremendous diversity of views to the table. Yet everyone seems to agree that putting tools in municipal hands is the key to making Phase 2 deliver big for Canadians," said Somerville.
Local governments have a track-record of delivering local infrastructure solutions in ways that tackle national challenges - from creating jobs to boosting productivity to lowering GHG emissions. Local leaders told parliamentarians that unlocking this nation-building potential in Phase 2 depends on key design decisions before Budget 2017, including:
- streamlining significant Phase 2 funding as predictable allocations so municipalities can plan long-term, tap local expertise and move projects forward;
- modernizing cost-sharing arrangements so municipal fiscal limits do not block progress on Phase 2 projects; and
- dedicating much of the Phase 2 Social Infrastructure Fund to tackling the housing affordability crisis that is playing out across Canada.
"This month's decision to dedicate $2 billion to rural and northern infrastructure needs shows this government is listening. That's another key FCM recommendation met, with three more on the table. With predictable allocations, fair cost-sharing and a focus on housing, Phase 2 is going to transform people's lives from coast to coast to coast," said Somerville.
For more information :
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
24 Clarence St.
Canada, K1N 5P3