Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi listens to a question during an event in Ottawa, Tuesday April 5, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
Changes to New Building Canada FundThe letters Sohi sent out last week also outline changes to the government's existing marquee infrastructure program, known as the New Building Canada Fund. About $8.7 billion remains from the provincial and territorial stream of the New Building Canada Fund and the letters make clear the Liberals want the remaining money allocated to projects within the next two years. The Liberals have previously vowed to speed up the federal approval process for money under the fund unveiled by the previous Conservative government in 2014. The letters say the government is expanding the projects eligible under the New Building Canada Fund, including work on modest highways and roads in smaller provinces like Prince Edward Island, that previously didn't qualify for funding because they weren't big enough in scope or impact.
Disaster-mitigation projectsThe federal government is also going to fund eligible project costs for ferry systems that provinces like B.C. had lobbied to have included in the New Building Canada Fund. Sohi writes the government plans to cover up to half the cost of disaster-mitigation projects, including those that would fight floods in provinces like Alberta and Manitoba, and any projects delivered as a public-private partnership, known as a P3. The government has removed the requirement for communities to always look for a private-sector partner on projects, but hasn't abandoned the idea: In a speech last week at a conference on public-private partnerships, Sohi said the government believes some projects are best suited to a P3, citing the new Champlain Bridge in Montreal and the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Windsor, Ont.
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