Federal government makes significant long term commitment to partner with municipalities on public transit (21/04/2015)
OTTAWA, ON - Brad Woodside, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, congratulated Finance Minister Joe Oliver on the federal government's significant investment in new public transit projects.
"The transit investment in this budget is good news for Canadians and marks an important achievement on a key issue they face every day," said President Woodside. "This level of permanent, ongoing funding has the potential to be transformative for public transit across this country."
President Woodside said today's transit commitments demonstrate the federal government is ready to partner with municipalities in building the economy and strengthening quality of life for Canadians.
There remain some unknowns that are critical to ensuring a successful transit solution. The government needs to ensure flexibility around the role of private sector involvement. As well, any plan must commit the federal government to an equal one-third investment. In the coming weeks, it is important that the federal government continue to work with FCM to develop the transit plan.
Today's budget also offered progress on the growing housing crisis in this country. As FCM recommended in its federal budget submission, annual investments of $1.7 billion for social housing are being maintained. This is a first step; however, with only a 4 year commitment and many outstanding details, it is unclear how much pressure will actually be relieved on growing waitlists for affordable housing in municipalities from coast to coast to coast.
Municipalities were looking for a federal partnership in this budget to meet new federal wastewater regulations that will cost upwards of $18 billion over the next 25 years.
This budget represents a missed opportunity to partner with municipalities on an infrastructure project that offers a basic service Canadians have a right to expect. FCM will continue to advocate for federal investments in a clean water fund to be matched by municipalities and provinces.
In the coming months, municipalities will build on the success of today's partnership with the federal government on public transit to strengthen its engagement on other shared priorities such as clean water and housing.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada!