How much time does Canada need to fix its current infrastructure? Twenty years, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
The FCM recommended that a 20-year plan with “predictable funding” is required to fix the country’s infrastructure.
“A long-term federal funding commitment that reflects the life-cycles of the infrastructure it is meant to fix is needed to allow municipalities to invest wisely and strategically in priority areas over decades, not just years,” said FCM president, Coun. Karen Leibovici. “It also means breaking away from budgets built on application forms and providing a predictable funding envelope for all municipalities.”
The FCM stated that application-based programs create too much inefficiency and uncertainty, especially for smaller and rural communities that lack the staff resources of larger municipalities.
Infrastructure Canada has been meeting with partners and stakeholders since the summer of 2012 to assist in the direction of a new long-term infrastructure plan.
"Thanks to this government's commitments, we've got a chance to put our infrastructure on solid ground for decades to come," said the chair of FCM's Rural Caucus, Coun. David Marit. "We're confident the plan will make the secure investments rural communities need to rebuild the aging roads, bridges, and water systems that are the backbone of our economy and quality of life."
The FCM has also requested a $2.5-billion increase in annual federal investments dedicated to municipal infrastructure, from $3.25 billion to $5.75 billion, stating that the increase would “bring it in line, as a percentage of GDP, with historical levels from the 1950s to the mid-1970s that allowed proper infrastructure maintenance and growth.”
The federation is also looking for the government to maintain the permanent gas tax transfer, with the addition of a cost-of-living indexation, designed to protect buying power. The FCM also proposed a new federal program to efficiently leverage matching investments from municipalities and provinces with a minimum of red tape and bureaucratic costs.
Source: Federation of Canadian Municipalities.