GUELPH, ON, November 13, 2012 – With the federal government wrapping up nearly six months of consultations on its long-term infrastructure plan, the City of Guelph is backing the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) effort to develop a long-term infrastructure plan in partnership with the Federal Government with predictable funding to fix crumbling infrastructure in communities across Canada.
That is the message delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities today as it released its recommendations on the Government of Canada’s long-term infrastructure plan.
“A long-term federal funding commitment that reflects the life cycles of the infrastructure it is meant to fix is needed to allow municipalities to invest wisely and strategically in priority areas over decades, not just years,” said FCM president, Councillor Karen Leibovici. “It also means breaking away from budgets built on application forms and providing a predictable funding envelope for all municipalities.”
“As the economic engines of our nation create prosperity and quality of life, it is critical to invest in our municipalities and partner with the Federal Government for stable, and long-term, infrastructure renewal”, says Guelph Councillor and FCM Board Member Lise Burcher.
The Federation says the inefficiencies and uncertainty resulting from application-based programs is even more acute for smaller and rural communities that do not have the staff resources of larger municipalities.
The FCM proposal also calls for an increase in annual federal investments dedicated to municipal infrastructure from $3.25 billion to $5.75 billion to bring it in line, as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), with historical levels from the 1950s to the mid-1970s that allowed proper infrastructure maintenance and growth.
The City of Guelph, like other municipalities, has been reinvesting significantly in its infrastructure and mapping out its investments through asset management plans and infrastructure investments tied to growth targets. However, the funding gap continues to widen as communities are required to do more with less while receiving only 8 cents from every tax dollar.
FCM is proposing maintaining the existing permanent gas tax transfer, but with a cost-of-living indexation to protect its buying power. It is also proposing creating a number of new federal programs designed to efficiently leverage matching investments from municipalities and provinces with a minimum of red tape and bureaucratic costs.
As a key contributor to the FCM’s recommendations to the Federal Government on the long term infrastructure plan, Councillor Burcher is confident the recommendations will be well received. “It’s a strong plan that will support municipalities to make strategic investments in their communities, and to plan for their investments with funding certainty over a longer timeframe”, says Councillor Burcher.
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