As part of the New Building Canada Plan, the renewed federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) is an important avenue of funding to help municipalities build and revitalize their local public infrastructure, contributing to job creation and economic growth.
On July 17th, MLA Norm Letnick, Lake Country Mayor James Baker, Mark Koch, Director of Community Services District of Lake Country, Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) President Rhona Martin, and I announced that the District of Lake Country has received $250,000 in Gas Tax funds to support the District’s adoption of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).
Since 2006, the District of Lake Country has received $7,387,891 under the federal Gas Tax Fund.
In consultation with local residents, the newly adopted ICSP sets a direction for Lake Country to become a healthy, sustainable community that attracts and retains residents, businesses and visitors and will influence future infrastructure investment, zoning, economic development and environmental protection within the District.
The federal GTF program was originally designed to provide municipalities with $5 billion in predictable funding over five years.
Since then significant improvements have been made to the GTF: it has been extended; doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion annually; and legislated as a permanent source of federal infrastructure funding for municipalities.
Additionally, as of April 1, 2014, communities will be able to use the renewed GTF towards a wider range of projects, which means they will have even more flexibility in the types of projects they fund.
To date, $13 billion has been invested in Canadian municipalities through the federal Gas Tax Fund, with close to $22 billion to flow over the next 10 years.
Federal infrastructure funding has had a significant impact on our riding. Local investments made through the $33 billion Building Canada fund, established in 2007, provided millions of dollars in infrastructure funding in Kelowna-Lake Country for transit, recreational and heritage facilities, multi-use pathways, water and sewer, bridges and roads.
Now, more resources are available to our municipalities, regional and provincial governments to address infrastructure priorities.
In total, $70 billion in new public infrastructure investments will be made over the next decade, providing the stable, predictable and flexible funding requested by Canada’s municipalities. This will include the $53-billion New Building Canada Plan, $6 billion flowing through existing programs, and $17 billion to build, operate and maintain federal public infrastructure.
Under the New Building Canada Plan there will be three main components:
- a Community Improvement Fund - $32.2 billion consisting of an indexed Gas Tax Fund and the increased GST Rebate for Municipalities to build roads, public transit, recreational facilities and other community infrastructure across Canada that will improve the quality of life of Canadian families;
- a New Building Canada Fund - $14 billion in support of major economic infrastructure projects that have a national and regional significance including the $4-billion National Infrastructure Component (NIC) that will support projects of national significance; the $10-billion Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component (PTIC) for projects of national, regional and local significance; and $1 billion dedicated to projects in communities with a population of fewer than 100,000 residents; and
- a renewed P3 Canada Fund - $1.25 billion to continue finding innovative ways to build infrastructure projects faster and provide better value for Canadian taxpayers through public-private partnerships.
It makes it much easier for our Kelowna-Lake Country municipalities to determine their capital planning budgets knowing that reliable and predictable infrastructure funding is in place.
To date, the effective working partnership between our local, provincial and federal governments has successfully identified key infrastructure priorities in Kelowna-Lake Country resulting in sound infrastructure investments. I will continue to work closely with our Mayors, their councils, and our MLAs as they identify their infrastructure priorities under the new plan.
The federal government’s commitment to the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan in our nation's history will enhance economic growth, job creation and productivity and continue to help us support our growing local economy.
For more information on Canada’s infrastructure funding please go to www.infrastructure.gc.ca.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]. Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.