In­fra­struc­ture funds to flow af­ter bud­get passed: min­is­ter

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Money for in­fra­struc­ture projects meant to stim­u­late the econ­omy, which will likely fo­cus on re­pairs and main­te­nance in the first phase of fund­ing, will start flow­ing soon — but not be­fore the bud­get is passed, the in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter said Thurs­day.

Amar­jeet Sohi told the Toronto Re­gion Board of Trade an ini­tial two-year phase of spend­ing will “lay the foun­da­tion” for the Lib­eral govern­ment’s 10-year in­fra­struc­ture strat­egy.

The cur­rent eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion makes the need for those in­vest­ments “ur­gent,” Sohi said af­ter his speech, but added there is a process the govern­ment needs to go through.

“Once the bud­get is fi­nal­ized and passed ... then we will start get­ting money out to the com­mu­ni­ties as quickly as pos­si­ble,” he said.

Sohi said his goal is to en­sure in­vest­ments can be made in the next con­struc­tion sea­son. The orig­i­nal Lib­eral plan was to di­vide $60 bil­lion among pub­lic tran­sit, green projects, and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture like af­ford­able hous­ing over 10 years, with just $17.4 bil­lion ear­marked to flow dur­ing the party’s first man­date.

In­sid­ers have told The Cana­dian Press the Lib­er­als are “ac­tively” con­sid­er­ing speed­ing up de­liv­ery of the new in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing. Sohi said he wants to heav­ily in­vest in re­pairs and de­ferred main­te­nance for the first two years of in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, as those projects could help boost the econ­omy this year.

Sohi

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