Provincial government announces infrastructure funding support for small, rural and northern municipalities

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

The provincial government announced in August a new Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund to provide $100 million in annual funding for essential bridge, water and wastewater projects.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal said in Stratford that the government plans to provide “small, rural and northern municipalities with stable, annual funding needed to build and repair essential core infrastructure.”

The government announcement says half of the funding for the initiative will be allocated annually “using a fair and transparent formula, which recognizes that municipalities have different infrastructure and fiscal needs.”

“The remaining $50 million will flow through an application-based process, allowing municipalities to continue partnering with the province to invest in critical infrastructure projects that will create jobs and support growth.”

The premier also announced that Ontario municipalities can now propose infrastructure projects to be considered for support through the Small Communities Fund. Through this fund, Ontario and the federal government will each provide $272 million to support projects in municipalities with populations less than 100,000.

“It’s encouraging to see the province has built flexibility in to this process,” said Barry Steinberg, chief executive officer of Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO). “It recognizes the inherent depth of planning and coordination necessary for successful economic development.

“If communities can have a say and be part of the funding process, they will be more active in their strategic asset planning,” he said. “Local leaders know what their communities need in terms of infrastructure refurbishment and new construction to grow and prosper. The province supporting these needs is what translates in to more jobs and better infrastructure.”

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