City council in the spring approved a wish list, yet nothing. “We’ve got a big long list of things that we could do that would improve the transit service in Edmonton,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “Deal with some pressing maintenance concerns, and the sooner the agreement is signed the sooner we’ll be able to get on with those projects.”
Mayor Iveson said he was hopeful when the Trudeau Liberals announced they’d handle 50% of the price tag. “Which is music to the ears of mayors across the country but unfortunately some provinces have chosen to take some of that federal money to offset provincial budgetary concerns.”
“That is part of the conversation in Alberta given the fiscal situation and we understand that,” he said citing a conversation with Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman where that city’s take has been reduced to 25%.
Iveson says there’s short and long term deals to consider, with the most of the federal money expected in years four, five and beyond of the ten pledge.
“Provinces are now in some cases scrambling to try to find matching dollars for that and that’s creating some difficulty for them. I think it’s a source of some of the challenges coming to the final agreements.”
Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Nunavut and Northwest Territories are the other provinces and territories who have yet to sign funding deals.
Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Brian Mason said in a written statement they hope to have something signed in the near future.
“Our government is finalizing the project list comprised of projects submitted by municipalities, and we are working closely with Minister Sohi’s office to reach the 60% of projects needed for the agreement. We look forward to signing this important agreement very soon.”
The Liberals vowed during the election to increase infrastructure spending by $60 billion over the next 10 years. The first two years of the program have $6.6 billion for provinces and cities to spend on transit and water and wastewater systems.
Click here for the July 12 City Council report, item 6.2