Ontario Construction News staff writer
In a conference call with provincial leaders on June 6, federal minister of infrastructure Francois-Philippe Champagne told provincial and territorial leaders to take advantage of the summer construction season by getting projects moving quickly.
“I urge all provinces and territories to open all of their intake processes for municipal infrastructure projects quickly,” Champagne says.
He invited leaders to partner with the federal government to see projects completed.
“Building healthy, vibrant and prosperous communities is in everyone’s interest,” reads a news release from the minister’s office, which is why the federal government has signed bilateral funding agreements to invest in safer raods, highways, more public transit infrastructure, and clean drinking water.
“To ensure that Canadians get timely results, we are adjusting some of the terms and conditions of these funding agreements… to make them more responsive to evolving needs of communities,” the statement reads.
For one, the government has announced a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion to the federal Gas Tax Fund, to help address the short-term infrastructure priorities of municipalities and Indigenous communities.
In addition to public transit, projects targeted will be focussed on water systems and energy efficient buildings, affordable housing and community centres, and trade and transportation routes.
Champagne recently launched a federal-provincial-territorial working group so that communities can use funding to mitigate risks of flood, drought, and wildfires.
Through the Investing in Canada plan, the government is investing over $180 billion over the course of 12 years for public infrastructure renewal.
“My department is ready and equipped to do everything we can to support provinces and territories because this is a long-term nation-building endeavour,” Champagne says.