Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi holds up an agreement signed with the Yukon during an infastructure annoucement at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on June 22, 2016. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Deals signed with B.C., QuebecFederal officials expect deals to be done the end of the month. Six agreements have been signed so far, including with British Columbia and Quebec, two of the most lucrative. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to talk infrastructure when he visits Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island this week. "These agreements mean hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding are flowing to help municipalities improve their public transit and clean water and wastewater systems, while creating jobs and supporting clean growth," said Brook Simpson, a spokesman for Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi. The Liberals vowed during the election to increase infrastructure spending by $60 billion over the next 10 years. The first two years of the program have $6.6 billion for provinces and cities to spend on transit and water and wastewater systems.
Liberals hope spending will create jobsThe federal government has vowed to pick up half the tab for projects and make payments retroactive to April. The hope is that the spending will help stimulate the economy, create employment — Statistics Canada reported the country had a net loss of 31,000 jobs in June — and pad government coffers with new tax revenue that will help bring the budget back to balance. None of the billions the federal government wants to put into infrastructure can flow to provinces and cities without bilateral agreements. Although each province knows how much it is getting in new transit and water infrastructure money, it has to negotiate with its cities about what projects it will put forward for federal cash.
"These agreements mean hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding are flowing to help municipalities improve their public transit and clean water and wastewater systems, while creating jobs and supporting clean growth."That list needs at least 60 per cent of the funding slots filled before a funding agreement can be signed and provinces like Alberta are still in talks with their municipalities. A spokeswoman for Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli said the province is finalizing its agreement with Ottawa, which would provide the most populous province with $570 million for water and waste water projects and $1.48 billion for public transit. As for when a deal would be done? "Negotiations are going well and we expect to have something in the near term," Katrina Kim said. The infrastructure money this year and next is focused on repairing the aging water and public transit infrastructure in the country and for smaller projects that can be completed by 2019. There is also money available for planning larger projects that are to be the focus of the second and more lucrative phase of the Liberal infrastructure program.
Also on HuffPost