NEWS
09/20/2017 11:21 EDT | Updated 09/20/2017 12:42 EDT

Flow of infrastructure cash on the table when feds, provinces meet Thursday

OTTAWA — The federal infrastructure minister wants to talk about how to better manage the flow of construction cash from Ottawa to cities when he sits down this week with his provincial and territorial counterparts.

Infrastructure money historically falls short of budget projections because the federal government doesn't dole out cash until after construction begins or ends on a project.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi says how funds are delivered will be a key issue during face-to-face meetings Thursday in the national capital.

The Finance Department says the federal deficit was about $5.2 billion smaller than the $23 billion the Liberals projected in their first budget, largely a result of a $3.7-billion lag in spending that included infrastructure cash.

Sohi says he isn't concerned about the slow trickle of infrastructure money from the federal treasury, arguing it has had no effect on the pace of construction projects.

All those projects have to be completed by March under the rules for the first phase of the Liberal infrastructure program, but Sohi says the government will grant extensions to that deadline on a case-by-case basis.