ARCHIVED - Gas Tax Fund
Results for Canadians: Executive Summary
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The federal government recognizes the importance of modern, public infrastructure to build a better, safer, stronger Canada. The Gas Tax Fund (GTF), part of the Government of Canada's $33 billion Building Canada infrastructure plan announced in Budget 2007, targets exclusively municipal infrastructure and provides local governments with the funding and the flexibility to meet the needs of their communities. By extending the GTF indefinitely through Budget 2008, the GTF is a permanent program on which municipalities and local governments can rely.
Canadian communities have different priorities for their GTF dollars. For Canada's biggest cities, the priority so far has been public transit; prairie towns have focused on local roads and bridges; and Quebec municipalities have invested heavily in water infrastructure. Whatever the priority, the GTF strives to address the diverse needs of communities while contributing to national environmental outcomes of cleaner air, cleaner water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Canadian municipalities — big and small — are eligible for the GTF. To date, over 2,700 communities across the country have received Gas Tax funds for local infrastructure needs, which makes the GTF one of the federal government's most far-reaching programs.
The focus for many Canadian municipalities has been the rehabilitation and replacement of existing infrastructure. More than 85 percent of all GTF investments have gone toward the renewal and expansion of existing infrastructure as opposed to new construction.
The GTF's unique program design allows the federal government to move dollars for projects at the local level quickly and efficiently. Through 2007, the program had delivered $1.1 billion to the provinces and territories, which has resulted in 2,234 projects across the country. The estimated value of these projects is roughly $3 billion, with many communities leveraging their GTF money with other funding sources to maximize local impact.
In addition, the GTF structure allows municipalities to bank their funds until they need them, helping communities to better manage their assets and begin work on their projects when it is convenient for them. In the first two years of the program, provinces, territories and municipalities have banked $685 million in Gas Tax dollars and have earned about $16 million in interest.
The GTF also provides communities with money for planning; viable communities now, and in the future, require a sustainable approach to development that is well planned, integrated and responsive to a community's longterm needs. Infrastructure is a key enabler of economic, environmental and community development objectives; as such, communities must plan in order to make the right investments.
The Gas Tax Fund is making a difference across the country. The success of the GTF model — built on local decision making, flexibility, planning and predictability — can be seen in infrastructure projects from Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Prince George, British Columbia, to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. With the program now permanent, it will continue to give communities a reliable source of funds to build the infrastructure they need.
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