May 9, 2002
(Municipal and Provincial Affairs)

The following statement was issued today by Oliver Langdon, Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

I would like to take this opportunity today to update the House of Assembly on the status of this government’s municipal infrastructure programs.

As members are aware, a three year $261 million municipal infrastructure program was announced with the recent budget.

Approximately $108 million was targeted to be spent under a Multi-Year Municipal Capital Works Program. Projects under this program are cost-shared on a 50/50 basis with municipalities. I am happy to report that we now in the process of negotiating multi-year agreements with about 14 municipalities. And, contrary to what my critic in Opposition has implied, this funding is not being allocated on the basis of politics nor quarterly polling. In fact, over $68 million has been targeted for seven towns or cities which are either in whole or in part within the electoral districts held by members of the Opposition parties.

There is no mystery about the timing of these announcements. These announcements occur around the same time each year: 1999-May 18th, 2000-May 26th, and 2001-May 7th.

The construction season is upon us. The towns are anxious to proceed and the construction industry is anxious to get the work. I would challenge anyone to identify a city or town on our project list which does not legitimately need this multi-year capital works funding.

We are also moving forward with implementation of the two other components of our $261 million capital works program. Projects to be funded under our $63 million Municipal Capital Works Program are now being finalized, and announcements will be forthcoming shortly. We are also in the process of consulting with our federal colleagues on $90 million worth of projects to be funded under the Canada-Newfoundland Infrastructure Program over the next three years.

The municipal share of capital costs for water and sewer projects will continue to be determined in accordance with our Variable Cost-Sharing Guidelines. This allows all towns to participate in the capital works program by establishing cost-sharing ratios on the basis of ability to pay. In some cases, the province will pay up to 90 per cent of project costs. This is an innovation in municipal infrastructure financing of which I am quite proud.

In closing I would just like to emphasize that municipal infrastructure funding in the province is allocated on the basis of need and sound engineering advice. I can say without reservation that every town which gets a project - needs it.

2002 05 09                           2:05 p.m.

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