2013 Federal Budget delivers for Kitchener
Kitchener - Mayor Carl Zehr joined Canada’s big city mayors and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) board members from across Canada in applauding the federal government for choosing to continue moving our communities ahead.
“Today’s budget delivered for Canada’s cities and communities, and is an important step forward for the City of Kitchener,” said Mayor Zehr.
Of particular significance, is the government’s decision to increase the gas tax transfer 2% annually, beginning in 2014-2015. This measure alone -- the first indexing of a municipal transfer -- will ensure the fund keeps pace with inflation and will add another $9 billion to the permanent gas tax fund over 20 years. In the city of Kitchener, that means almost $27 million in additional gas tax funding over that time frame.
“By protecting the purchasing power of the gas tax transfer, and by extending program funding for 10 years, this budget entrenches the principle of long-term sustainable infrastructure funding for Kitchener,” said Councillor Berry Vrbanovic, immediate Past President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Mayor Zehr added: “These additional dollars will allow the city of Kitchener to continue with its Accelerated Infrastructure program for core municipal infrastructure, while also providing funding opportunities for other strategic investments. This is significant in helping to create jobs and grow the economy.”
The budget goes further by renewing critical housing programs and reaffirming the federal role in addressing the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness. This adds up to about $1.8 billion over five years and will be of significance to the Region.
What today’s budget does not contain is a definitive roadmap to erasing the infrastructure deficit. However, it does lay the foundation for continued intergovernmental collaboration as economic conditions improve to meet the challenges that need to be addressed in the city of Kitchener. Whether it’s wastewater upgrades, roads and bridges, or transit and transportation, all orders of government must work together to meet the needs of Canadian communities.
“We value the role the federal government has committed to in addressing these challenges and we are confident this budget will mean continued progress for our cities and communities,” said FCM president Karen Leibovici.