Shovels ready - Waiting for money say FCM big city mayors caucus

    WHISTLER, B.C., June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government must work
closely with cities to keep its $12-billion infrastructure stimulus plan on
track and strengthen the economy.
    That was the message from the mayors of Canada's 22 largest cities
following their meeting today. The mayors are in Whistler as part of the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference.
    "Cities play a crucial role in the most important economic issues facing
the country, and we are essential to the success of the government's economic
strategies," said Caucus chair Carl Zehr, Mayor of Kitchener, Ont.
    "Municipalities will co-fund and manage most of Canada's stimulus
projects over the next two years. To its credit, the federal government has
put $12 billion on the table, and has made many project announcements.
However, most stimulus projects are still awaiting final approval as
construction days slip away."
    The mayors said the experience with the economic stimulus plan shows that
even the best-laid plans from Ottawa won't amount to much without front-line
partners who can turn these plans into concrete results.
    "Municipalities have called on the government to set clear deadlines for
project approvals in each province and territory and make up for lost time by
providing flexibility to the March 2011 construction completion date," said
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "The government must make those changes now
and work with cities to implement them."
    Looking beyond the immediate economic crisis, the mayors stressed that an
intergovernmental partnership must not be a marriage of convenience but a
long-term relationship with mutual understanding and shared goals.
    "The federal government must build on the legacy of the last few years,"
said Toronto Mayor David Miller.
    "The permanent Gas Tax Fund, long-term investments in infrastructure and
affordable housing, plus a renewed sense of cooperation in fighting the
recession are legacies worth protecting and building upon. We want all federal
parties to make these gains the foundation of a new partnership, in order to
eliminate the $123-billlion municipal infrastructure deficit."

For further information:

For further information: Jocelyn Sweet, (613) 907-6241,

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