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Cities ‘not expecting goodies’ in budget

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has made it clear that today’s budget will steer away from stimulus funding to deficit fighting, so cities aren’t anticipating a huge cash injection.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has made it clear that today’s budget will steer away from stimulus funding to deficit fighting, so cities aren’t anticipating a huge cash injection.

“We’re not expecting goodies in the budget, quite frankly,” said Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Hans Cunningham. “Rather than just a one-time shot or goodies, we would really like a commitment going forward with a long-term plan on infrastructure.”

Cities and towns across Canada estimate the infrastructure deficit — that is the cost to fix crumbling roads and leaking pipes, replace aging transit vehicles and expand transit service, and renovate arenas and community centres — stands at $123 billion.

“Nobody has the money to fix this today or the next day. What we’re looking for is a long-term plan,” said Cunningham.

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, a former Liberal MP, believes it’s possible to have deficit reduction and stimulus funding at the same time.

“I think they’re not mutually exclusive,” said Bevilacqua. “The reason you have a stimulus package is to create jobs and greater revenue to encourage growth in the economy.”

 
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