With the federal budget set to be tabled today, the mayor of Ottawa has new funding for the city’s infrastructure high on his wish list.
Aimed at creating jobs and stimulating the sputtering economy, yesterday’s announcement of $4 billion in new infrastructure spending by Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities John Baird will leave a lasting legacy on the city, said Mayor Larry O’Brien.
“The City of Ottawa needs be in the best possible position to take advantage of this new funding from the federal government, as soon as it becomes available, in order to maintain and repair the city’s existing infrastructure, support local industries and create jobs in the community,” said O’Brien.
In preparation for the announcement, staff and council are working to develop a priority list of all ready-to-go city projects, including public transit, to be approved by council Feb. 11. The projects have the potential to create more than 6,000 jobs in the city.
“This provides us with the opportunity to help our economy now, and it is our responsibility to ensure we are ready to benefit from this new investment,” O’Brien said.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also agreed that he wanted to see money for infrastructure.
“Ontarians want the federal government to invest in meaningful infrastructure projects that improve the competitiveness of our economy and ensure that economic stimulus stays in the country,” he said.
McGuinty said shovels need to be put into the ground quickly to help the province “emerge from the economic slowdown with a legacy of major, transformational investments, such as transit, transportation and water infrastructure projects.
“They’ll make our economy more efficient, and they’ll pay for themselves in the future,” he said.
Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Jim Watson said he wanted to see money for affordable housing in Ottawa.
“I believe that one of the greatest needs the city has is for the federal government to understand that affordable housing investment is a must,” said Watson.
“Affordable housing funding will create jobs and will help people in these tough economic times — it’s a perfect stimulus package. It is essential that any money flow quickly and not be bogged down with red tape and paperwork.”
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