DAILY NEWS Nov 13, 2012 3:54 PM - 2 comments

Canadian municipalities call for extra $2.5 billion annually for infrastructure

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The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling on the federal government to create a 20-year plan and to boost funding by $2.5 billion annually to address aging infrastructure across the country.

The FCM is proposing the federal government increase its municipal infrastructure investments from $3.25 billion annually to $5.75 billion.

Vancouver bridgeThat increase would bring spending more in line (as a percentage of GDP) with levels from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, which “allowed proper infrastructure maintenance and growth,” according to the FCM.

Its proposed 20-year plan would also include five-year reviews. The Canadian government is currently working on a plan for infrastructure funding for when the current plan ends in 2014.

"A long-term federal funding commitment that reflects the life-cycles of the infrastructure it is meant to fix is needed to allow municipalities to invest wisely and strategically in priority areas over decades, not just years," FCM president, Karen Leibovici said in a statement outlining its proposals.

"It also means breaking away from budgets built on application forms and providing a predictable funding envelope for all municipalities,” she added.

Crumbling roads and bridges, over-crowded transit, poor resiliency and escalating repair costs are all contributing to Canada’s infrastructure problem, the FCM says.

"We can't count on the old infrastructure lottery to build strong cities and a competitive economy," Big City Mayors' Caucus chair, and Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson noted in the FCM statement.  

"You don't plan repairs to the roof of your house on the odds of winning the 6-49, and you can't set a city's infrastructure priorities on the odds of being successful with application-based programs.”

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