Updated Oct. 2, 12pm: Tony Clement reviews benefits of Gas Tax Fund for Muskoka
At the District of Muskoka offices today, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement outlined the benefits Muskoka has received from the federal Gas Tax Fund. Here is the press release from his office:
Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement joined with municipal leaders today to highlight how Canada’s Gas Tax Fund is pumping millions of dollars into infrastructure projects across Muskoka, creating jobs and providing a stable funding source for our communities for the future.
“Canada’s Gas Tax Fund provides predictable, long-term funding to help municipalities build and revitalize our infrastructure, like public roads and water-sewer systems,” said MP Clement. “Improved infrastructure maintains the vibrancy of our communities, sustains and creates good jobs and supplies the solid underpinnings for economic growth.”
As announced in the Harper Government’s Economic Action Plan 2013, the Gas Tax Fund, made permanent in 2011 at $2 billion per year, is now indexed at 2 per cent per year, starting in 2014-15, with increases to be applied in $100-million increments. From 2014-2015 to 2023-24, this represents $21.8 billion in flexible, long term funding for municipal infrastructure. For Muskoka, this has meant over $13 million in infrastructure funding.
Funding is provided up front, twice a year to provincial and territorial governments or to the municipal associations (Association of Municipalities Ontario, AMO) which deliver this funding within a province, as well as to Toronto. Projects are chosen locally and prioritized according to the infrastructure needs of each community. Municipalities can pool, bank and borrow against this funding, providing significant financial flexibility.
“The Federal Gas Tax has been a stable source of funding that allows the District of Muskoka to continue to invest in its water and waste water infrastructure. The District has a complex geography which demands a large number of treatment plants and pumping stations to service relatively smaller urban populations. However, water quality is paramount for the safety of our citizens, but also as an economic driver for Muskoka’s tourism industry,” said District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck, who joined with mayors, councillors and municipal administrators at the District offices in Bracebridge today to highlight the Gas Tax Fund’s impact.
As at June 30, 2013, over $9 million of Federal Gas Tax funding has been received by the District of Muskoka.
Federal Budget 2013 also allows municipalities greater flexibility to spend federal funding on a broader range of infrastructure priorities. More specifically, the Fund supports municipal infrastructure projects that contribute to cleaner air, water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and fall into the following categories:
- Drinking water
- Wastewater infrastructure
- Public transit
- Community energy systems
- Solid waste management
- Local roads
“The Federal Gas Tax Fund is designed to respect municipal decision making around infrastructure. No made-in-Ottawa solutions are being imposed. Our councils have the ability to determine local priorities and move forward with implementation on their own timetables” said MP Clement.
SEPT. 30: Aboriginal Affairs Critic became part of MPP Norm Miller’s PC responsibilities today; MP Tony Clement to make Gas Tax Fund announcement on Wednesday at District of Muskoka
Posted Sept. 30, 130pm: As part of a shuffle of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Shadow Cabinet today, Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, has been named Critic for Aboriginal Affairs. In addition, Miller will retain the Northern Development and Mines critic portfolio he has held since 2011.
“I am very pleased to accept my new role as PC Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and look forward to working directly with our First Nations partners” stated Miller in response to the announcement this morning.
Among other critic portfolios, Miller had previously held this position from 2005 to 2009 spanning parts of two successive governments.
In local federal news. a release today says Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement will be extolling the virtues of the federal Gas Tax Fund at 10am on Wednesday at the District Municipality of Muskoka offices in Bracebridge. The release from Clement’s office says he will be accompanied by municipal leaders from across Muskoka, but it did not state whether Clement will be announcing money for Muskoka as a result of the fund. Infrastructure Canada describes the fund as being designed to provide “predictable, long-term funding for Canadian municipalities to help them build and revitalize public infrastructure that achieves positive environmental results” and money from it is expected to be given out to municipalities each year the fund is in place (to 2014).