OTTAWA — A look at the positions and promises of the five major federal parties on infrastructure projects:
Conservatives: In November, Stephen Harper announced $5.8 billion in new money to build and renew infrastructure, with the majority to be spent within next three years.
Includes $2.8 billion for improvements to heritage, tourism, waterway and highway projects within historic sites, parks and marine conservation areas; $500 million for repair and construction of on-reserve schools; $452 million to repair and upgrade Canadian Armed Forces facilities; $440 million for border facilities; about $400 million to maintain, upgrade and construct federally owned buildings; $380 million for federal laboratories and research facilities; $288 million for repair and maintenance of small craft harbours; $204 million to federally-owned and operated airports as well as improvements to VIA Rail infrastructure; $191 million for heritage and museum sites; and $183 million for repair and procurement of vessels and small craft for Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries.
NDP: Promise to ensure roads, bridges and other core infrastructure get attention, starting with additional one cent of existing gas tax. This would amount to additional $1.5-billion dollar annual investment by end of NDP's first mandate to help stabilize long-term funding for infrastructure.
Better Transit Plan would be developed with provinces and territories to improve commuting in cities and help the environment. NDP would spend $1.3 billion annually over next 20 years to ensure stable, transparent public transit funding for municipalities.
Provide incentives for construction of 10,000 affordable and market-rental housing units.
Liberals: Promise largest new infrastructure investment in Canadian history. Plan would nearly double federal infrastructure investment to almost $125 billion — from current $65 billion — over next decade.
Immediate down payment to kick-start growth by doubling current federal infrastructure investment in each of next two fiscal years.
New, dedicated funding to provinces, territories, and municipalities for public transit infrastructure; social infrastructure (including affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational facilities); and green infrastructure (including local and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, and clean energy).
Increase transparency of New Building Canada Fund by providing clearer project criteria and faster approval processes that would prioritize investments in roads, bridges, transportation, ports and border gateways.
Help fund public infrastructure projects with creation of Canada Infrastructure Bank.
Greens: Promise to maintain gas-tax revenue earmarked for municipalities and would encourage RRSP tax treatment for investments in municipal bonds.
Immediate, expanded programs totalling $3 billion for six areas of key infrastructure: community brownfield remediation; water and wastewater treatment facilities; sports, recreational and cultural facilities, public transit, promotion of cycling, walking; and community housing.
Devote one percentage point of GST to municipal infrastructure to generate about $6.5 billion annually for municipal infrastructure needs.
Create Infrastructure Bank, an independent Crown Corporation to leverage access to credit at lowest possible interest rates on behalf of municipalities. Could operate much like the World Bank, directly lending money or guaranteeing loans to start up viable projects that would be financially sustainable over time.
Bloc Quebecois: Promises to unveil a full federal infrastructure investment plan to stimulate the economy in all regions of Quebec.
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Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press