Cities Need Fair Share of Growth Revenues from New Infrastructure Plan, say Big City Mayors
Saskatoon - The federal government’s new long-term infrastructure plan must guarantee cities a fairer, more secure share of the tax revenues generated by new growth, said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) following its meeting today in Saskatoon.
“To build the modern infrastructure and transportation systems Canada needs to compete in the global economy, our cities must have secure, sustainable funding that keeps up with their growing needs,” said BCMC Chair and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The federal government’s new long-term infrastructure plan must produce a new generation of long-term investments that enable cities to repair and maintain the country’s core economic infrastructure.”
In Budget 2011 the federal government committed to develop a new long-term infrastructure plan to replace its Building Canada Plan, which expires in March 2014. The new plan gives Canada the opportunity to turn around the long-decline in its aging infrastructure and reduce the traffic gridlock choking its big-city economic hubs.
The first step is to protect the core investments cities have fought hard to secure in the last decade, beginning with the permanent federal Gas Tax Fund, which invests $2 billion per year in municipal roads, bridges, water treatment, and public transit.
“Without indexing the Gas Tax Fund - an essential investment in our cities – we will lose a full 50% of its value during the next two decades” said City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “We need to protect the Gas Tax Fund’s investments in roads, water, and public transit to keep the municipal infrastructure deficit from putting an even greater burden on our economy.”
The mayors delivered their message one day before the federal Minister for Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Denis Lebel, is scheduled to address 1,600 municipal delegates at the FCM Annual Conference in Saskatoon. The conference, which runs from June 1 to 4, will also feature speeches by the Leader of the Official Opposition Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Party leader Bob Rae, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May.