Issue Summary #7 – Infrastructure
Municipal and regional governments provide some of the most basic and essential services needed by citizens and businesses to survive and thrive: clean water, roads, sewers, recreational facilities, garbage recycling and disposal.
What measures do you believe can be taken to give municipal governments the flexibility and finances they need to build and maintain infrastructure and services that will meet the growing and increasingly complex demands in their areas?
The Conservative government has made significant investments towards municipal and regional government infrastructure through the Gas Tax Fund, which they have doubled, indexed, and now made permanent.
Through the Gas Tax Fund, which has been extended at $2 billion per year, municipalities can utilize that funding for projects of their own choosing. In addition, the New Building Canada Plan calls for $53 billion over 10 years to invest in infrastructure to promote productivity and economic growth. Also $32.3 billion has been delivered through the Community Improvement Fund to support repairs and improvements to existing community infrastructure.
One of the biggest local transportation infrastructure investments was last week’s commitment that a re-elected Conservative government will provide the required financial support to establish the Foot Passenger Ferry to Vancouver. This is the single biggest immediate project that will have a positive, long-lasting economic impact on Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and I worked on securing this for the past 18 months. Investments in the Nanaimo Airport have also been a great success.
Since 2006, the government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invested heavily in Canada’s infrastructure in partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Canada has led the G7 in infrastructure investments based on a percentage of the GDP, and has undertaken the largest infrastructure plan in Canadian history.
The Conservative government has made these investments in infrastructure while keeping taxes low and balancing the budget. Spending more than we take in, especially as the global economy remains fragile, would be risky, and saddle Canadians with debt.
A Liberal government will make historic new investments in infrastructure across the country, strengthening the middle class, creating jobs, and growing our economy.
This election is a choice between jobs and growth or austerity
and cuts. Harper has failed and Thomas Mulcair would cut billions of dollars in public investments. Our community needs a real plan for change, and only the Liberals will make historic infrastructure investments that will bring jobs and growth to Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
The Liberal plan will address the issues we face by providing new, dedicated funding for social infrastructure that prioritizes affordable housing and senior’s facilities, early learning and childcare, and cultural or recreational infrastructure.
People in Nanaimo-Ladysmith understand the real needs our community faces around replacing pipes under the pavement in Ladysmith or the Colliery Dam in Nanaimo.
A Liberal government will nearly double federal infrastructure investment to almost $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade. Liberals will provide dedicated funding to invest in a broad range of projects, including: local water and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, clean energy, and clean up of contaminated sites to facilitate new construction.
We know that investing in public infrastructure grows the economy, creates jobs, and also makes our communities stronger. Canada’s growth was made possible by ambitious infrastructure projects. As a country, we must build ambitiously once again if we want to modernize our transportation systems, create affordable housing, and adapt to climate change.
Vote Liberal, Vote for Real Change that can happen.
In my 12 years of working as an elected official at the municipal level, I have seen that our communities need federal support to build and maintain public infrastructure. I have also seen how the Harper Conservatives’ have tied the hands of our local governments. Years of downloading and neglect have resulted in Canada’s municipal infrastructure debt escalating to $172 billion – and it continues to rise.
The NDP’s plan is bold but also achievable because it is measured and fully costed. We will help local governments provide key services by allocating one additional cent of the existing gas tax, resulting in $1.5 billion at the end of a first mandate to reach $3.7 billion annually in stable, long-term investment in core infrastructure. This will ensure that roads, bridges and vital infrastructure such as clean and safe water are there when communities need them, and it will allow us to add bike paths and other much-needed projects to address climate change and carbon emissions.
We also know the need for public transit is a growing issue in our area to help people get to work. The Conservatives are promising too little, too late — nothing in the first two years. Tom Mulcair has developed a Better Transit Plan in partnership with provinces and territories that provides $1.3 billion in annual funding to tackle the transit infrastructure backlog.
An NDP government will respect provincial jurisdiction and local decision-making, simplify application processes and remove funding barriers through direct and transparent transfers to municipalities and provinces for their priorities.
And here is the definition of win-win: Making sure infrastructure projects have stable funding will create jobs, employing people who live in this area and boosting our local economy in the process.
The Green Party understands that local governments need stable and predictable funding so they can invest in critical infrastructure as well as community amenities like sports fields, arts, and culture.
Our current tax system is unbalanced. Municipalities only receive eight per cent of Canadian tax revenue even though they provide most of the essential services. Canadian municipalities currently need more than $350 billion to repair infrastructure like roads and bridges that we all rely on.
The Green Party will provide this funding by creating a Municipal Registered Retirement Savings Plan bond that will direct billions to municipal governments for their needs.
Greens will increase transfer payments to municipalities from the existing gas tax and direct those funds to sustainable transportation such as public transit, cycling and pedestrian walkways.
We will also fund Green Cities initiatives through Municipal Super funds. Cities will be able to apply for grants to fund projects, including:
• Upgrading water and sewage treatment and recycling facilities;
• Development of sports, cultural and recreational facilities as well as their refurbishment;
• Improvement and expansion of mass transit and car-sharing
• Support of cycling and walkable communities
• Building of energy-efficient housing co-operatives and affordable housing as part of a national housing strategy
• Cleaning up toxic sites
And finally, Greens will establish a Canadian Infrastructure Bank to provide the financing and investment to help our cities and towns build the bridges, roads and facilities they need to thrive and grow.
Learn more at greenparty.ca/vision-green