Securing sustainable infrastructure funding for local governments

Local governments across Canada build and maintain 60 percent of core public infrastructure, but only receive 10 cents of every tax dollar paid. To ensure Metro Vancouver’s major infrastructure continues to serve the needs of the region, it is vital the federal government provide sustainable funding for major infrastructure projects.

More about the Issue

Metro Vancouver’s 5-Year Outlook 2019 – 2023

Questions

 

If elected, will your party commit to providing permanent, predictable, and sustainable funding sources for infrastructure projects to meet the needs of a growing population in Metro Vancouver?

 

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    Metro Vancouver is responsible for providing services that keep half of the population of British Columbia healthy and safe, including clean water and air, solid and liquid waste management, regional planning and parks. But with another 35,000 more people moving here ever year, Metro Vancouver’s services and infrastructure are under pressure.

    Like other local governments, Metro Vancouver relies primarily on property taxes, user fees, and transfers from senior orders of government to fund its infrastructure projects. But with only 10 cents of every tax dollar coming to municipalities, funding is severely limited.

    Federal funding programs do exist and help local governments build, maintain and upgrade critical infrastructure. However, the criteria for these programs are often inconsistent and timelines can change dramatically with a change in government. This uncertainty undermines long-term planning and often results in delays and cost increases to essential projects.

    Local governments require more predictable funding sources for necessary, non-discretionary infrastructure projects. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, for instance, is calling on federal parties to commit to a permanent doubling of the Gas Tax Fund transfer to local governments, which would provide local governments with a direct source of funding so they can plan for the future.

 

If elected, will your party commit to contributing at least 40% of the costs of infrastructure projects such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades?

 

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    Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Services face a host of regulatory requirements from other orders of government, including federally mandated upgrades to wastewater treatment plants.

    Current projects include upgrading the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant to secondary treatment at a cost of $1.9 billion. Such projects also come with prescribed timelines for completion – 2030 for Iona – yet Metro Vancouver and local governments often don’t have the necessary revenue sources to complete such improvements on their own.

    The New Building Canada Plan was instrumental in securing funding for the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant, now known as the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, but that fund will be eliminated in 2023-2024. A new federal commitment to contribute at least 40% of the cost of infrastructure projects is necessary to complete future projects on time.