CUPE calls on Feds to face the infrastructure deficit reality



    OTTAWA, Nov. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Danger ahead: The coming collapse of
Canada's municipal infrastructure is the title of the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities report that was released today. The FCM confirms that the
physical foundations of Canada's cities and communities are near collapse.
    "This report confirms what municipal workers have known for some time,
that our physical infrastructure is past its service life," said Paul Moist
national president of the Canadian Union of Public employees. The FCM report
pegs the infrastructure deficit at $123 billion.
    "Most municipal infrastructure was built between the 1950s and 1970s, and
much of it is due for replacement. Our concern lies with the response that we
have received to date from the Federal government in terms of the Building
Canada Fund," added Moist.
    The $123-billion estimate in the study includes "sub-deficits" for key
categories of municipal infrastructure: water and waste water systems
($31 billion), transportation ($21.7 billion), transit ($22.8 billion),
solid-waste management ($7.7 billion) and community, recreational, cultural
and social infrastructure ($40.2 billion).
    "This figure of $123 billion will only grow exponentially, the federal,
provincial and municipal governments need to come together to develop a
sustainable plan that will tackle the infrastructure deficit. The impact of
the infrastructure deficit goes beyond economic concerns, explained Moist,
there is a threat to life and health - our bridges need repair, our water
systems are springing leaks. With a federal surplus that is hovering at
$14 billion, there are no good reasons to delay taking action."
    CUPE has known for some time that the infrastructure deficit was growing
at an alarming rate. The FCM report details to the federal policy advisors and
politicians the need to recognize the severity of the national infrastructure
deficit. The expectation that municipalities can deal with the infrastructure
deficit by increased property taxes is ludicrous - it is simply unsustainable.
    "The Building Canada Fund announced last year is a flawed program that
has repackaged already designated federal dollars into a scheme designed to
profit from the infrastructure crisis so that municipal services can be
privatized. What municipalities need is support to repair and replace aging
infrastructure - not threats of 'we will give you some money if you agree to
privatize', concluded Moist.




For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, CUPE national president, (613)
558-2873 (cell.); Catherine Louli, CUPE Communications, (613) 851-0547
(cell.)

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