Federal Gas Tax Fund Making Permanent Contribution to Strong Cities and Communities, Says FCM President



    OTTAWA, April 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Statement by Jean Perrault, President of
the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, on
the occasion this week of the doubling of the federal Gas Tax Fund:
    "Over the last four years, the Government of Canada has invested some $3
billion to support critical municipal infrastructure projects through the Gas
Tax Fund (GTF). This has created thousands of jobs in communities across the
country and improved the infrastructure that supports Canada's enviable
quality of life - access to affordable housing, efficient public transit and
secure, safe communities.
    Starting this week, this transfer doubles to $2 billion a year. FCM
applauds the decision in last year's federal budget that will now make the
federal GTF a permanent contribution to municipal fiscal balance in our
country.
    The record shows that the fund has delivered real, street-level value for
taxpayer dollars quickly and efficiently - such as improved roads, bridges,
and water and sewer systems - while maintaining the highest standards of
transparency and accountability. In doing so, it has created the foundation on
which we can build a long-term, national plan to eliminate the estimated
$123-billion municipal infrastructure deficit.
    Most important, this now permanent program recognizes the fundamental
role municipal governments play in dealing with national priorities. It is
based on an understanding of the limits of the property tax as a fiscal tool
and the growing responsibilities that municipalities face. It is our hope that
this program will serve as a foundation for federal-municipal cooperation and
partnership in areas such as affordable housing, the environment and public
safety.
    FCM has proposed indexing the fund to address the challenge of protecting
its purchasing power against inflation, population growth and economic
expansion. I look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to
take concrete steps to maintain the GTF's long-term value and impact to ensure
this fund continues to make its important contribution to Canada's prosperity.
    The Government of Canada and all parliamentarians deserve recognition and
thanks this week for their ongoing support for this important funding program
and the working partnership they have forged with Canada's municipalities."




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews: Maurice Gingues,
(613) 907-6395, mgingues@fcm.ca; visit www.fcm.ca/en/infrastructure

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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