Ottawa - Large municipalities like Brampton have been shut out of infrastructure funding by Prime Minister Harper.
Despite the federal government's announcement of the $4 billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, municipalities say the rigid criteria attached to qualify for this funding has unrealistic constraints and conditions including a tight deadline of May 1st to identify shovel ready projects.
"The unnecessary roadblocks this Government is erecting for infrastructure projects in Brampton are hurting the development and growth of this city. These actions are a clear indication that this Government does not have the interests of Bramptonians and municipalities at heart" said Dr. Dhalla.
If it was sincere, the government could implement MP Gerard Kennedy's motion adopted on March 3rd, which would transfer at least half of its committed new infrastructure funds using the Federal excise gas tax method.
"Unemployed workers and their families are depending on the Harper government to do what it has failed to do so far: deliver infrastructure funding responsibly, quickly and fairly," said Mr. Kennedy. "This is no time for politics as usual."
Earlier this week, Dr. Dhalla joined Liberal colleagues in calling on the government to implement the motion which would allow cities like Brampton to pool, bank and borrow funds far more quickly and will not lapse like the Building Canada Fund. This method would also allow for money to reach Brampton far more quickly then the red tape currently involved in the Stimulus Fund—which requires other levels of government to match funds for projects.
"The Conservatives have put needless constraints on funding for Brampton projects. Supporting the gas tax funding is imperative for the Government to adapt because it will ensure municipalities like Brampton who not eligible for the Building Canada Fund and are now facing even greater barriers in receiving funding from the Stimulus Fund, get the money they need now" said Dr Dhalla.
"The Conservative refusal to support the gas tax funding model is an insult to all Bramptonians. We need a government that puts petty political partisanship aside, and stands up for the interests of all Canadians" said Dr. Dhalla.