Statement by FCM President on the launch of the Government of Canada's Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program



    OTTAWA, April 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Statement by Jean Perrault, President of
the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, Que.,
on the announcement by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) of
the Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program:
    "Today's launch of the Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program in
Kitchener, Ont., will open the door for more municipalities to put cost-shared
federal stimulus programs to work in the near-term, creating jobs and meeting
local municipal infrastructure needs that service residential households -
improved roads, sidewalks, and water supply and sewage treatment systems.
That's good news for the national economy, and for the cities and communities
where Canadians live and work.
    By committing up to $2 billion in low-interest loans for municipal
infrastructure projects, the federal government, through CMHC, has provided a
financing tool that will help municipalities access $12 billion in federal
funding for cost-shared stimulus projects over the next two years.
    The program helps to address an urgent issue facing many municipal
governments: the challenge of meeting requirements to share one-third of the
cost of stimulus projects at a point in the fiscal year when municipal budgets
have already been approved. Municipalities are on track to invest a
record-setting $15 billion in local infrastructure in 2009. While accessing
credit is not generally a problem for municipalities, finding additional
dollars after budgets have been set can be a significant obstacle.This program
will help municipalities overcome this obstacle in order to access cost-shared
stimulus programs.
    Today's announcement demonstrates the positive results governments can
achieve when they work together. With the support of Minister Diane Finley,
FCM worked with officials at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to
provide front-line input and technical expertise in the development of an
innovative program featuring the lowest interest rate available, a streamlined
application process, and quick review and approvals. The result is a program
that will help inject stimulus into the economy and provide municipalities
with a more affordable debt-financing tool - all without contributing one
dollar to future federal deficits.
    The lending program will provide municipalities with simple-to-access
credit at the same low interest rate available to the federal government. The
only additional charge will be a small fee levied to recover the cost of the
program.
    The program will feature interest rates that are significantly lower than
the best rates typically available to municipalities, saving local property
taxpayers about 10 per cent on total financing costs over the life of the loan
- a notable savings for municipal councils, where every tax dollar counts.
CMHC has also committed to turning loan approvals around quickly, reducing
significant delays in our short construction season. This accelerated access
to financing will help municipalities get federal stimulus dollars invested in
front-line construction projects quickly enough to fight the recession.
    We look forward to building on this collaborative program. We support the
Government of Canada's statement that stimulus investments must contribute to
making the country stronger than before the recession. As we continue our
national fight against the recession, governments must also begin to look
beyond the immediate crisis and together plan for a post-recession world that
includes ongoing partnership and a commitment to provide cities and
communities with new fiscal tools to build a stronger, more prosperous future
for Canada."




For further information:

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

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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