05/31/2013 11:29 EDT | Updated 07/31/2013 05:12 EDT

Infrastructure Cash Tops Agenda For Municipal Politicians


Infrastructure funding will top the agenda when 1,800 mayors and councillors from across the country gather in Vancouver.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is holding its 76th annual conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre from May 31 to June 3.

FCM president Karen Leibovici says officials are looking for new ways to share costs with senior governments when it comes to providing needed services.

“What we have done for too many years is work separately in our own silos, and what we need to do is look beyond that,” she said. “So how do we all work together to make that happen and do it in an effective and efficient manner?”

Leibovici, who is also a city councillor in Edmonton, believes senior government is starting to listen.

“I think 10 years ago I would have agreed with you, but what we have seen over the last 10 years is a recognition that to continue this way doesn’t make a lot of sense."

She says municipalities get just eight cents of every tax dollar but are saddled with 60 per cent of infrastructure costs.

Leibovici says the federal government has promised$ 53 billion in infrastructure funding over the next decade and $9 billion in gas tax transfer money over the next 20 years, but she says more money is needed.

Convention delegates are also expected to focus on affordable housing and homelessness.

Guest speakers at the convention include federal Infrastructure Minister Debis Lebel, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

Also on HuffPost