March 31, 2014
Conservatives leaving municipalities behind
The New Building Canada plan will in no way reverse the infrastructure and public transit deficiencies that communities are facing throughout the country. The NDP is urging the Conservative government to take immediate action to ensure that the plan meets the needs of municipalities.
“The New Building Canada Fund reserves no specific money to municipalities, despite the fact that they own 60% of our public infrastructure,” said NDP Infrastructure and Communities critic Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga).
The government has also limited the power of municipalities to choose their own priorities. In fact, the New Building Canada Fund will prevent them from planning new local road or infrastructure projects, including sporting, recreational, cultural and touristic facilities. This new federal financing scheme will cover only a maximum of one third of the costs for any given project. Since municipalities are already facing financial limitations, this could mean higher municipal taxes for families.
The new condition for assessing the feasibility of projects in public-private partnership could also mean further delays. According to Infrastructure Canada, it could take anywhere from 6 to 18 months, which could mean that municipalities will face a one- or two-year hiatus on construction.
“Canadians want their money to be invested in local infrastructure. They want it to be used to alleviate traffic jams and repair decaying bridges. We are asking the government to re-evaluate the unreasonable conditions that they have imposed on municipalities,” added Boutin-Sweet.