FCM calls for permanent gas tax with faster ramp-up in federal budget

    OTTAWA, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities
(FCM) has called on the Government of Canada to include in the next federal
budget a permanent gas-tax fund, worth about $40 billion over 20 years.
    FCM also wants an escalator to protect the fund from inflation and other
pressures, as well as acceleration of the scheduled ramp-up of the fund to
$2 billion in 2008-2009 as a counter-cyclical measure to improve
infrastructure, create new jobs and increase economic activity.
    "A permanent gas tax fund, with an escalator would represent the most
significant federal commitment to local infrastructure in Canada's history,"
said FCM President Gord Steeves. "This would provide the centrepiece for a
national plan to tackle the municipal infrastructure deficit."
    The extension of the federal gas tax fund in Budget 2007, along with the
creation of the Building Canada Fund and the continuation of the municipal GST
refund will deliver more than $18 billion to local governments over seven
years. Budget 2008 provides an opportunity to build on these investments and
put Canada's cities and communities on a more secure fiscal footing.
    In its pre-budget submission to Minister of Finance Flaherty, FCM calls
on the Government of Canada to make the permanent gas tax fund a key component
of a broader investment strategy that tackles the municipal infrastructure
deficit through increased revenue-sharing with cities and communities; makes
investments in transit and affordable housing and homelessness; and encourages
increased cooperation in national issues that play out locally, such as
immigrant settlement and policing.
    "With a federal election looming, Canadians are looking to the federal
government for a plan to keep our economy strong in the short, medium, and
long-terms," said President Steeves. "They can see that traffic gridlock,
crumbling roads, and overcrowded transit systems are hurting Canada's
productivity, and they know we can no longer afford to defer investments in
the places we call home.

For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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