Statement by FCM President on today's infrastructure announcement by Minister Baird



    OTTAWA, Jan. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Statement by Jean Perrault, President of
the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, on
today's infrastructure announcement by Minister Baird.
    "We are strongly encouraged by today's commitment from Minister John
Baird and the Government of Canada to deliver significant new funding for
infrastructure projects in time to fight the recession. We were also
encouraged to learn the budget will invest in green infrastructure. By helping
to upgrade municipal public transit, water, and wastewater systems, the
federal government can put Canadians to work on projects that conserve energy
and help protect our air and water.
    Timing remains critical. Cost-sharing requirements pose a challenge for
cash-strapped municipalities, especially now that many have approved their
2009 Capital Budgets. To put new investments to work creating jobs this year,
the federal government must continue to work with municipalities to ensure new
funding is delivered through an efficient, flexible funding mechanism.
Municipalities, who will spend $15 billion on municipal infrastructure this
year, are ready to continue doing their part.
    A significant number of new infrastructure projects must get started
during the 2009 construction season to help counter the recession. Earlier
this month, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities released a list that has
grown to more than 2,249 shovel-ready infrastructure projects in cities and
communities across the country. We recommended using a flexible new funding
mechanism to flow money quickly, fairly and accountably, like the federal Gas
Tax Fund model.
    The federal government has recognized the importance of flowing new money
quickly, and has reiterated its commitment to make existing programs work
faster. Achieving these objectives represents a significant but vital
challenge. All orders of government must continue to work together to spell
out the details and put new investments to work to boost the economy and serve
Canadians.
    Strong cities and communities are the foundation of our economy and
quality of life. Improved infrastructure will help Canadians compete for new
jobs, opportunities, and investments in the global economy. By investing in
the places Canadians live and work, the federal government will help build a
safer, greener and more competitive country for the future.
    Canadians know that getting new infrastructure projects started this year
is our best recession- fighter. More than half of Canadians made new
infrastructure spending their top priority for this budget. Canadians can be
confident that the actions announced by the Government of Canada today are an
important step in providing the economic stimulus needed to fight this
recession."




For further information:

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

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

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