Billions of dollars in unspent infrastructure funds in Ottawa

Denis Lebel
Denis Lebel
The billions of dollars dedicated to Ottawa in infrastructure funds distributed seem very slowly. According to data submitted to Parliament last month about 92% of provincial and territorial envelope New Building Canada Fund sleeps in the coffers of the federal government.

Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, some 782 million of the 10 billion was allocated to projects. Money should continue to be distributed at a similar pace, since the plan is projected over ten years, says one Infrastructure Canada, the department that oversees the fund’s operations.

The spokesman of the Ministry Baalbaki Fatima said that employees currently studying “several requests” and that other applications should arrive soon. Bidders present their projects, many take years to achieve, has she explained. The government pays the money only when the contractor starts the work and costs were assessed, added Ms. Baalbaki.

The figures, which were released in response to a written question from Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, show that 52 projects had received their payment during the fiscal year 2014-2015 until April of this year – the first month of the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Work for six of these contracts were initiated in four provinces, including two in Prince Edward Island.

The provincial and territorial infrastructure component receives requests for a little over a year. With the national component, the fund totaling 14 billion will be invested in the municipalities for the next ten years.

The national component, which includes projects that benefit the entire country, has meanwhile approved two submissions. Thus, 25 million were awarded to enlarge Fort McMurray Airport in Alberta and about 43 million have been announced for the Port of Montreal. This leaves 98 percent of the total 4 billion not yet spent.

By combining the two components is 94% of the total remaining in the coffers as the program enters its second year, which leaves a lot of leeway to the Conservatives who would make interesting promises in constituencies where they hope to a breakthrough.

“Even if one is in the second year, the fact that 94% (of the funds) have not been affected is a deliberate choice of government dealing (conservatives) have something to tell Infrastructure in term,” lamented Ralph Goodale.

In recent weeks, the Conservative members have traveled the country to promise significant investments, but mainly in Conservative ridings. Since the beginning of the fiscal year, 144.3 million of 283.3 million pledged has been allocated to Conservative ridings, 49 of 58 projects, according to an analysis by The Canadian Press announcements of investments by the government.

This week alone, 16 infrastructure projects worth $ 57.6 million have been announced, most of which come from the $ 1 billion fund for small communities, part of the provincial and territorial component.

The spokesman Denis Lebel Minister of Infrastructure said that it was the provinces to decide which projects will receive federal funding.

In an email, Michele-Jamali Paquette said the conservatives “had no lessons to learn” the liberals, who would have invested less, on average, annually, the current government infrastructure.

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