Edmonton's neighbouring communities are supporting the city's quest for regional development money to help pay for the $480 million downtown arena.

The board passed a motion on Thursday that the Capital Region Board supports the City of Edmonton in an application for a three-year grant of $25 million under the province's Regional Collaboration Program.

The board, which is made up made up of 24 cities, towns, counties and villages that surround Edmonton, passed the motion by a 17-7 margin.

Mayor Stephen Mandel says the support of the regional board will strengthen the city’s application to the province.

"It’s a way for the premier, as well as the ministers, to move forward," he said Thursday.

"We appreciate the board’s support and we'll move on with the application — whether or not we’re successful with this or not is another story."

The money would come out of a $140 million pot of money set aside for municipalities who want to collaborate on a regional project.

St. Albert Mayor and board chair Nolan Crouse predicted Edmonton would win the required support.

"This is seen as being an Edmonton-driven initiative which everybody understands, but people also understand the importance of the Edmonton downtown and the Edmonton arena really to Alberta," he said.

Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths said that he is glad to see the region working together to support the arena project, however, he added it could be months before the province makes a decision on the matter.

If the province supports the region’s bid, the arena would still need an additional $30 million. Mandel said he has some ideas where the city will make up the cash, but would not yet give any details.

Yesterday Edmonton councillors deferred a crucial vote on the arena until city administration finds ways to make up a $55 million shortfall.

With files from CBC's Lydia Neufeld