Move infrastructure funds fast to fight recession, say FCM Big City Mayors



    New program modelled on Gas Tax Fund will create jobs and build for
    future

    OTTAWA, Jan. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The mayors of Canada's 22 largest cities
are calling on the federal and provincial governments to join them in fighting
the recession by quickly getting new funding to infrastructure projects.
    That was the message FCM's Big City Mayors Caucus (BCMC) delivered today
at their meeting in Ottawa ahead of Friday's First Ministers' meeting.
    "Infrastructure spending is the best tool we have to fight the recession
and create jobs," said Carl Zehr, chair of the BCMC and Mayor of Kitchener,
Ont. "Cities are wasting no time in putting people to work on thousands of
capital projects across the country. This year alone municipal capital budgets
will deliver more than two per cent of the GDP."
    "We are ready to put even more people to work and put the economy on the
road to recovery. In response to an invitation by the federal government,
municipalities have put together a list of more than 1,000 additional
shovel-ready projects that would generate more than 150,000 new jobs," Zehr
added. "But to counter a recession this year we need a program that gets money
to projects in time for the spring construction season. A program based on the
gas tax funding model is the best tool for the job."
    The mayors say that, while important, the Building Canada Fund (BCF) is
too slow to deliver the stimulus needed to fight the recession and create
jobs. Instead, the federal government must incorporate the highly-efficient
gas tax funding model into a national stimulus package that increases and
accelerates the flow of funding to local governments. This will deliver a
significant and immediate economic boost to cities and communities across the
country.
    "Our city is boosting infrastructure spending by 24 per cent over the
next three years," said Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay.
    "Intensified infrastructure spending will deliver a double dividend,"
Tremblay added. "By investing in our physical foundations- public transit,
roads, bridges, water systems, as well as our libraries, community centres and
recreational facilities- we will create new jobs today while building cities
that can compete for talent and investment tomorrow."
    Toronto mayor David Miller said his city will create and maintain 300,000
new jobs over the next decade by investing in green infrastructure. "We want
to jump-start those projects and boost our economy now with new investments in
light-rail transit. Additional projects are ready to go now-but we need
funding right away."
    "A fast-moving program, coupled with new dollars for affordable housing
and public transit, will create jobs and help cities provide services that
Canadians count on in good times and bad," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor
Robertson. "Our economy, our environment, and our citizens will all benefit."
    The mayors called on Canada's first ministers, meeting tomorrow, to
support enhancing a funding model based on the efficient, fair and equitable
Gas Tax Fund to get new money to municipalities immediately for infrastructure
projects that will create jobs and strengthen Canada's foundation for the
future.




For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395,
mgingues@fcm.ca

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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