Mayor Don Iveson understands how the Notley government was caught off guard with Prime Minister Trudeau’s transit funding scheme that boosts federal cash to fifty percent for this first phase that’s worth $3.6 billion. However he hopes the second more lucrative $16 billion phase won’t also suffers the same fate.
A report going to city council next week outlines the contribution from the Notley government at 25 percent, to go with the city’s 25 percent investment. City council was hoping for 33 percent. “It just sort of sideswipes our infrastructure agenda and our attempt to look after all of our assets in a state of good repair,” Iveson told reporters.
“That is not nothing. It is something. And we appreciate that. It should be 33. It should be 40. But it is what it is.”
“For future phases we have to do better than 50-25-25 otherwise we simply won’t as a local government be able to keep up with the federal government’s ambition. That will leave money on the table. That will leave projects un-built, jobs unemployed, and that’s not what the feds are looking for, it’s not what the mayors are looking for, and I trust in the fullness of time that won’t be what the province is looking for either.”
“I’d like to see 50-40-10 quite frankly for the phase two money recognizing that municipalities don’t just put ten cents, then put one hundred cents on the dollar to operate and maintain these systems forever afterwards.”
“It seems like a frustrating step backwards from a province that under previous governments, the former Green Trip Fund was actually eligible for up to 67 cents on a transit project. So we’ve gone from 67 to 33 to 25, so you can see why I’m a little disappointed.”
The report details a long list of projects to be done as prep work for the more lucrative phase two. Iveson said some maintenance will have to be delayed to cover off the $23 million short fall.
“I can kind of make allowances for it in this first phase of $3.4 billion but the future of transit funding in this country can’t be the feds stepping up and the provinces stepping back.”