Canada's federal 2017 budget was released March 22 in a move the government called "the next step in the government's long-term plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class."
The budget contained few surprises and little new spending that had not been previously discussed, but it continues the federal government’s push toward public transit projects with inclusion of CA$25 billion (US$18.7 billion) through various avenues.
The government continued its commitment to establish a new Canada Infrastructure Bank, which it describes as an “an arm’s-length organization that will work with provincial, territorial, municipal, Indigenous and private sector investment partners to transform the way infrastructure is planned, funded and delivered in Canada.”
The budget says the bank will invest at least CA$35 billion (US$26.1 billion) over 11 years, using loans, loan guarantees and equity investments. The government said it would soon introduce legislation to establish the infrastructure bank and begin the process to identify a CEO and chairperson of the Board of Directors with a goal of having the bank operational in late 2017.
The Canadian government also plans to invest CA$20.1 billion (US$14.9 billion) over 11 years on public transit projects “through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, with provincial and territorial allocations determined using a formula based on ridership (70 percent) and population (30 percent).”
The government said it would work closely with provinces and territories to ensure the public dollars would be invested properly. Additionally, the budget calls for the infrastructure bank to invest at least CA$5 billion (US$3.74 billion) in public transit systems.
The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) said the 2017 federal budget solidified the federal government’s long-term commitment to improving urban mobility in Canadian communities.
“By committing to long-term and dedicated transit funding, this government has empowered transit agencies to plan for the infrastructure projects that their communities need today, and the projects they will need in the future,” said Sue Connor, chair of CUTA and executive director of Brampton Transit. “But funding is only part of the equation. Now all levels of government, the transit industry and the Canadian public must work together to ensure that this funding is utilized in a way that maximizes economic, environmental and social outcomes for Canadian communities.”