Federal budget: once-in-generation opportunity on housing, transit and climate (17/01/2017)
OTTAWA: The upcoming federal budget can improve Canadians' quality of life for years to come - if it empowers municipalities to connect national infrastructure investment to pressing local needs. That's the message from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) today as it releases Seizing the Moment, its recommendations for the 2017 federal budget.
This next budget will unveil details of the unprecedented federal promise to invest $81 billion over 11 years in transit, social, green and other infrastructure. Those details will determine how well the federal plan generates growth, improves productivity, lowers emissions and improves our quality of life.
To achieve the best outcomes for Canadians, FCM is urging the federal government to launch transformational initiatives in Budget 2017, including:
• Fixing Canada's housing crisis. FCM recommends investing $12.6 billion over eight years to protect existing social housing, build new affordable housing and support vulnerable Canadians - seizing this opportunity to direct funds already promised for the Social Infrastructure Fund.
• Revolutionizing Canadian transit. Cities across Canada are ready to implement major transit expansions, shortening commutes, easing gridlock and reducing emissions. With historic transit investment already promised, FCM is calling for predictable allocations and fair cost-sharing so cities can plan and move large-scale projects forward.
• Scaling up local green innovation. Municipalities influence half of Canada's carbon emissions, and they are modelling some of Canada's greenest practices. FCM is calling for already promised green infrastructure funding to be dedicated to scaling up local innovation - to cut climate-changing emissions, adapt communities to new weather extremes, and meet other environmental priorities.
FCM is also calling for steps to ensure that promised new investment in rural, remote and northern communities is flexible enough to respond to local realities and fiscal constraints.
Canada's cities and communities are hubs of economic growth and innovation. Local governments are responsible for 60 per cent of Canada's public infrastructure, powered by less than 10 cents of each tax dollar. They have an exceptional track-record of implementing cost-effective local solutions with national impacts.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of Canada's local order of government, with nearly 2,000 members representing 91 per cent of the Canadian population.