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FCM Calls for 20-Year Plan to Fix Infrastructure


November 13, 2012
By Aggregates and Roadbuilding

November 13, 2012, Vancouver, BC 
With the federal government wrapping up nearly six months of consultations on
its long-term infrastructure plan, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
(FCM) says Canada needs a twenty year plan with predictable funding to fix its
crumbling infrastructure.

November 13, 2012, Vancouver, BC 
With the federal government wrapping up nearly six months of consultations on
its long-term infrastructure plan, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
(FCM) says Canada needs a twenty year plan with predictable funding to fix its
crumbling infrastructure.

That's
the message delivered by the Federation today as it released its
recommendations on the Government of Canada's long-term infrastructure
plan.

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"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,"
said FCM president, Councillor Karen Leibovici. "It also means breaking
away from budgets built on application forms and providing a predictable
funding envelope for all municipalities."


"We
can't count on the old infrastructure lottery to build strong cities and a
competitive economy," said Big City Mayors' Caucus chair, Mayor Gregor
Robertson.  "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".


The
Federation says the inefficiencies and uncertainty resulting from
application-based programs is even more acute for smaller and rural communities
that do not have the staff resources of larger municipalities.


"Thanks
to this government's commitments, we've got a chance to put our infrastructure
on solid ground for decades to come," said the chair of FCM's Rural
Caucus, Councillor David Marit. "We're confident the plan will make the
secure investments rural communities need to rebuild the aging roads, bridges,
and water systems that are the backbone of our economy and quality of
life."

The
FCM proposals also calls for an increase in annual federal investments dedicated
to municipal infrastructure from $3.25 billion to $5.75 billion to bring it
in line, as a percentage of GDP, with historical levels from the 1950s to the
mid-1970s that allowed proper infrastructure maintenance and growth.


FCM
is proposing maintaining the existing permanent gas tax transfer, but with a
cost-of-living indexation to protect its buying power. It is also proposing a
new federal program designed to efficiently leverage matching investments from
municipalities and provinces with a minimum of red tape and bureaucratic costs.


"Since
it was first elected in 2006, the current government has been leading change in
how the federal government funds infrastructure in this country by taking a
number of important and bold steps," said Leibovici.  "As we
wait for the government's plan, we're confident that it will continue on the
path of bold innovation. Just as we are confident that it too recognizes that
this is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss".