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Liberal leader Bob Rae calls for federal leadership on sustainable municipal infrastructure

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by Daily Commercial News

Canada needs stronger federal leadership when it comes to investing in greener, more resilient communities, said federal Liberal party leader Bob Rae in a keynote address to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) yesterday.

OTTAWA

Canada needs stronger federal leadership when it comes to investing in greener, more resilient communities, said federal Liberal party leader Bob Rae in a keynote address to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

“The simple fact is that this Conservative government has abdicated leadership entirely on sustainable municipal infrastructure,” said Rae. “As such, our cities and communities have been forced to pick up the slack, making critical contributions to ensuring that Canada becomes a more green and sustainable country, while adapting to the on-going and future impacts of climate change.”

Rae underlined the importance of federal leadership and investment in green infrastructure, such as through the Green Municipal Fund, a $550 million trust to support municipal leaders in funding energy efficiency and sustainable community projects across Canada. He also pointed to recent assessments of the economic impact of climate change, emphasizing that while municipalities are leading with strategies and investments, they shouldn’t be stuck dealing with these significant costs on their own.

“As the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy noted, climate change could cost Canada $5 billion by 2020 and as much as $43 billion by 2050 if nothing is done to mitigate its impacts,” said Rae. “If we are to prosper as a nation, the federal government needs to join our cities and communities, and be a leader and partner in green infrastructure and technologies.”

During his speech, Rae proposed to double the permanent Gas Tax Transfer to municipalities, which would boost federal-municipal infrastructure investments by more than $2 billion a year.

“Mr. Rae clearly understands the need of communities from coast to coast to coast to plan long-term investments in roads, bridges, public transit and water systems,” said FCM president Karen Leibovici in a statement.

“We support Mr. Rae's call for the new federal long-term infrastructure plan to fight traffic gridlock with investments in public transit.”

The current federal infrastructure plan is set to expire in March 2014. Leaders from various levels of government and stakeholder groups are stressing the importance of seeing a replacement long-term infrastructure plan in the 2013 federal budget to allow for planning.

DCN NEWS SERVICES

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