Greens urge feds and provinces to step-up and increase investments in public transit and municipal infrastructure

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today joined Green municipal leaders and candidates in urging federal and provincial governments to help Canadian cities and communities with their infrastructure needs.

As debates rage in municipal elections across Canada, the commitments to build new and more efficient modern public transit takes place in the absence of clear answers about funding. While the Harper administration has committed gas tax revenue to municipal infrastructure, it is not nearly enough to address the scale of the problem.

“Although no federal party is calling for tax increases to meet the challenge, the reality is that cities and towns receive only 8 cents out of every tax dollar, which makes it impossible for them to meet their infrastructure needs.” stated Elizabeth May. “Communities throughout Canada need to build and maintain their roads and bridges, improve public transport, fund water and sewer projects,—not to mention the ongoing and escalating costs of repair and maintenance.”

“The federal government has consistently downloaded its responsibilities to the provinces, who in turn have downloaded them to the municipalities,” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “Unfortunately for mayors and councillors across Canada, cities are where the rubber literally hits the road. They have most of the responsibilities and none of the rights to address them. It’s time for the federal government to step up and invest in our cities and towns will more funding.”

According to a 2013 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Canada’s infrastructure funding gap amounts to a shortfall of approximately $145 billion in necessary maintenance and construction. To address the threat posed by crumbling infrastructure, the CCPA recommends that up to $30 billion a year over the next ten years, on top of current spending is needed to address the crisis.

“Something needs to be done to address how cities like Vancouver deal with having the financial resources to improve our transit system,” explained Vancouver City Councillor, Adriane Carr. “I call on both the Federal and British Columbia Government to increase investments so that we can ensure that our transit system is world class and serves the very people who pay taxes and need it the most – Vancouver’s families, workers, students and seniors. I am committed to working with the BC Government to make sure our transit system is the envy of the world.”

“Canada’s infrastructure crisis is real and leadership is needed to bring everyone together to ensure that decisions are made to help deal with the unfair burden put on municipal leaders today,” Elizabeth May concluded.