WHISTLER, B.C. - Canada's big city mayors say their shovels are ready but they're still waiting for promised federal stimulus spending to flow.

The mayors kicked off a Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting in Whistler, B.C., with an appeal to the Conservative government to open the purse strings and get some of the much-needed projects going.

Ottawa has pledged $12 billion in infrastructure spending as part of its $40-billion stimulus package but Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr, chairman of the federation's big city mayors caucus, says it's nearly too late to have any projects underway for this summer's construction season.

Zehr says Ottawa needs to start handing out the cash and must also be "flexible" about its March 31, 2011, deadline for construction to be complete on the stimulus projects.

The mayors lauded the federal government for putting $12 billion on the table for stimulus spending, but say construction days are slipping away with little or no action.

The mayors want the federal government to put some deadlines in place for project approvals.

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