OTTAWA, ON — The federal government has reserved $53 billion for infrastructure spending, according to the 2014 Economic Action Plan, which Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released Tuesday.
Since the seven-year Building Canada plan expires this year, a new 10-year, $53-billion Building Canada plan was announced — the largest long-term federal infrastructure commitment in Canadian history.
New investments under this plan will help build roads, bridges, subways, commuter rail and other public infrastructure assets that promote productivity and economic growth.
Starting in 2014–15, the $53-billion Building Canada plan will provide:
• $21.8 billion over 10 years through the Gas Tax Fund, including an additional $1.8 billion in support over 10 years through the indexation of payments at 2 per cent per year.
• $10.4 billion over 10 years under the incremental Goods and Services Tax Rebate for Municipalities.
• $14 billion over 10 years for a new Building Canada Fund to support major economic projects that have a national, regional and local significance. The Government continues to consult with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and other stakeholders to finalize the parameters of the new Building Canada Fund and is committed to launching the new Fund by March 31, 2014.
• $1.25 billion over five years for a renewed P3 Canada Fund to continue supporting innovative ways to build infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships (P3s).
• $6 billion in federal support to provinces, territories and municipalities under current infrastructure programs in 2014–15 and beyond.
• $155 million over 10 years for First Nations on-reserve infrastructure from the new Building Canada Fund, in addition to allocations from the Gas Tax Fund.
$631 million for Windsor-Detroit Crossing
According to the federal budget, Canada’s government wants to spend $631 million over the next two years to fund the Windsor-Detroit International Crossing.
The Windsor-Detroit trade corridor is an essential international land crossing, handling 30 percent of Canada-U.S. trade carried by truck. In 2012, about 2.5 million trucks carrying over $100 billion in trade used the corridor.
Now a second crossing between Windsor, ON and Detroit, MI, is planned.
The feds will give $631 million over two years to build the new crossing, but out of that, $470 million will be for services related to project delivery activities.
$543 million for Quebec’s bridges
Also in the works are plans to build a new St. Lawrence Bridge. The budget promises to give $165 million over two years towards this project.
“The Champlain Bridge between Montreal and the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River is one of the busiest in Canada—used annually by about 50 million vehicles—and is a key crossing for the Montreal area, supporting the movement of people and goods. In order to ensure safe and efficient transportation for commuters, public transit users and commercial vehicles, the Government will build a new bridge over the St. Lawrence by 2018 to replace the existing structure,” the plan states.
But when it does open, some four years from now, there will be tolls so the cost of construction can be recovered.
What’s more, the plan promises another $378 million over the next two years to repair and maintain federal bridges in the Greater Montreal Area.
The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) manages federal bridges and other transportation infrastructure in the Greater Montreal Area, including the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges, the Bonaventure Expressway, the federally owned portion of the Honoré Mercier Bridge, the Melocheville Tunnel and the Champlain Bridge Ice Control Structure.
These structures were built in the 1930s and 1960s and are in need of repair and maintenance.
$58 million for Atlantic ferries
Over the next two years, the feds promise to spend $58 million to provides vessels, terminal facilities and operating support for three ferry services: between Digby, NS and Saint John, NB, between Wood Islands, PE and Caribou, NS, and between Îles de la Madeleine, QC and Souris, PE.
Rear view of federal spending on infrastructure
Here are some recent notable investments:
• $600 million contribution from the federal government to build the Confederation light rail transit line in Ottawa, ON;
• $30 million contribution from the feds to widen of Highway 104 in Antigonish County, NS;
• $21 million contribution from the feds to build the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria, BC;
• $200 million contribution from the feds to build a 140-kilometre all-season highway linking Inuvik with Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories.
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