09/07/2013 01:52 EDT | Updated 11/07/2013 05:12 EST

Federation of municipalities wants help to get infrastructure program started

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to design a new generation of cost-shared programs this fall to strengthen the country's local economic foundations.

The federation's board of directors issued a statement Saturday after meeting in St. John's, N.L., to discuss a variety of issues.

They also want improved rail safety after the disaster in Lac-Megantic, Que., in July when a train carrying crude oil jumped the tracks, exploded, and destroyed part of the town.

The federation's president, Claude Dauphin, says communities need to receive a fair and predictable share of new funding to address a growing need to improve infrastructure.

"The federal budget promised longer-term investments in the local roads, transit, water and wastewater systems that support our national economy, and now it's time to turn that promise into reality," said Dauphin, who is the mayor of Lachine, Que.

In its last budget, the federal government promised $14 billion over 10 years in its Building Canada Fund to support projects across the country.

Municipalities also want more action on housing, arguing that as new home construction tails off as fewer Canadians are able to enter the housing market, the federal government can create jobs and support growth by working with local governments to boost rental housing construction.

The federation's board of directors consists of more than 100 municipal leaders representing more than 2,000 communities across the country.