03/22/2016 20:34 EDT | Updated 03/23/2017 01:12 EDT

B.C. says federal budget sets stage for major infrastructure projects

VICTORIA — British Columbia's Liberal government says Tuesday's federal budget signals a good start towards investing in provincial infrastructure projects.

Community and Sport Minister Peter Fassbender says he's pleased Justin Trudeau's government is willing to pay up to 50 per cent for large infrastructure projects such as Surrey's light rail and the Broadway SkyTrain extension in Vancouver.

He calls the cost-sharing formula a step forward from the one-third split between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

But Fassbender says the province is not about to move away from its commitment of one-third funding, which means municipalities must contribute 17 per cent to the projects.

Fassbender says B.C. remains committed to tabling balanced budgets even though the federal budget projects a deficit nearing $30 billion.

He says the Trudeau government has decided to run deficits, but B.C. is aiming for surpluses.

"They have to make their choices," Fassbender says. "They have to run their fiscal house as we do ours."

He says the budget signals many B.C. communities can start making construction plans for their projects.

"We see the federal government being prepared to invest significantly across the country and here in B.C., particularly when we look at infrastructure and transit projects which I know the mayors of Metro Vancouver and other communities throughout the province have been advocating for."

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson also says the funding is a good first step towards investments in housing, transit and social infrastructure.

"The new funding and flexibility dedicated to transit will help us get moving on improving transit in Vancouver and throughout the region, and will both grow our economy while protecting our environment," the mayor said in a news release.








The Canadian Press