Statement by FCM president on the completion of the federal government’s regional infrastructure roundtables (30/07/2012)
OTTAWA - The following statement was released today by FCM president Karen Leibovici on the completion of the federal government's regional infrastructure roundtables:
"Today in Regina the federal government will host the last of its regional roundtables on its new long-term infrastructure plan. During the past month, more than 100 business, non-profit and government representatives have come together in every region of the country, from St. John's to Vancouver, and from Toronto to Iqaluit. They discussed how the new federal infrastructure plan must be designed to meet on-the-ground challenges and support new jobs, a strong economy, and a high quality of life for all Canadians.
The roundtables have provided information and insights that are essential to the future success of the new long-term infrastructure plan. Among the most important principles are:
- Securing Our Economic Foundations: The new plan must ensure that our cities and communities can repair crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, and public transit while building and maintaining the new infrastructure Canada needs to grow and compete in a tough global economy. That means putting a fair share of the taxes that Canadians pay back into the communities where they live, and designing flexible funding programs that recognize the distinct needs of different regions and communities.
- Protecting recent gains: The federal government has worked closely with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fight the global recession and start repairing the country's core infrastructure. The new infrastructure plan must build on these gains by replacing $2 Billion per year in federal funding set to expire in 2014; indexing federal investments to protect their long-term value; and designing longer-lasting funding programs for projects, from water treatment plants to subway expansions, that are built, financed, and maintained over decades, not years.
- Meeting new and growing challenges: The long-term infrastructure plan must confront new and growing challenges that are a threat to Canada's economy and quality of life, including: the $20 billion plus price-tag of meeting new federal wastewater standards; growing traffic gridlock and inadequate public transit; and adapting municipal roads, bridges and water systems to extreme weather caused by a changing climate. Meeting these challenges will require a new commitment by all orders of government to secure, sustainable investments, better infrastructure management, and new partnerships with the private sector where they make sense and benefit Canadians.
I thank Minister Lebel and Minister of State Fletcher for bringing this important national discussion to regions right across the country, and I look forward to meeting with them again this fall as the new federal infrastructure plan begins to take shape.
Moving forward, the federal government must be ready to act on what it has learned. FCM looks forward to continuing to work with the government, and with our almost 2,000 member municipalities across the country, to build a long-term infrastructure plan that puts our country, communities, and economy on solid ground for many years to come."