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Municipalities Seeking Long-Term Federal Commitment
(Friday, September 1/06)-- The federal government must make a long-term financial commitment to help Canadian municipalities, particularly the big cities, aggressively address the growing infrastructure gap in the country, Mayor Peter Kelly said today.
Mayor Kelly said that over the past few years, Canadian municipalities have spent an average of $10 billion a year on infrastructure. During the same period, the federal government only invested an average of $1 billion a year.
“The municipalities are spending 10- times-to-one what the federal government is investing in infrastructure,” he said.
Mayor Kelly was among a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) delegation who met in Ottawa yesterday with federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Lawrence Cannon as part of the government's Budget commitment to consult on the fiscal balance and seek the views of municipal governments.
The Mayor said “The infrastructure gap or shortfall is $60 billion a year in Canada, and increasing by about $2 billion each year. Four out of five Canadians reside in an urban centre, infrastructure is aging and crumbling and municipalities cannot keep up with the increasing demand for new services to accommodate this new growth. We need help and we need it yesterday.”
Mayor Kelly said Halifax is one of the oldest city’s in Canada and its infrastructure needs replacing. Also, HRM is facing unprecedented new growth and this is further driving the need for additional infrastructure.
He said “What is needed is a long-term federal commitment to our cities and communities and a long-term plan to support it. Our goal is to work with the Minister and his government toward an announcement in Budget 2007 of a long-term federal commitment and the outline of a strategy to erase the infrastructure deficit for good.”
“As a former Councillor for the Gatineau region and head of a transit authority, we appreciate Minister Cannon’s interest in asking to hear our views, and we thank him for his leadership on this file,” he said. “Yesterday’s meeting was the first step in an ongoing process that FCM hopes will lead to a long-term commitment by the federal government to eliminate the municipal infrastructure deficit.”
Mayor Peter Kelly