Posted on Thursday March 14, 2019 at 2:29 p.m.
MP campaigns for federal infrastructure deal
Millions of dollars worth of federal support funds are available to rural Ontario municipalities for infrastructure projects but only if the provincial government gets on board with the plan.
That was the message from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin (see photo) to local mayors during Wednesday’s committee of the whole session of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR).
“The funding stream has still not been opened,” Drouin said during a later interview.
The federal government committed more than $180 billion during its 2016 and 2017 budgets to the Investing in Canada plan to help spur economic development. The plan includes bilateral agreements between Ottawa and the provinces for allocating shares of that fund over the next decade.
Ontario’s share is worth between $10 billion and $11 billion for investment in public transit, “green” infrastructure, community cultural and recreational infrastructure, and for rural and northern regional infrastructure.
Drouin noted that the formula for projects approved under the fund’s rural infrastructure section has also changed. Ottawa did away with the old one-third shares formula between federal, provincial and local governments.
Now municipalities with a total population of 5000 or less may get up to 60 per cent of the cost for a project approved for funding. Those with populations of more than 5000 may get half of the cost of an approved project.
“The province has the responsibility for analyzing projects (applications) and submitting them to the federal government,” said Drouin, adding that Ottawa has yet to hear from Queens Park on any funding recommendations.
Drouin urged UCPR council and its member municipalities to determine what projects they have which might qualify under the federal infrastructure aid program and then lobby the provincial government to speed up the analysis and approval process.