Yukon, feds announce $69M in infrastructure funding

Infrastructure projects in the Yukon are getting a boost with millions in funding from the territorial and federal governments.

Funding will go to 22 projects, including transit and upgrades to wastewater systems

Currie Dixon, Yukon's minister of community services, making the infrastructure announcement in Ottawa Wednesday morning, along with Yukon MP Larry Bagnell (left) and federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi (right). (Ted Laking/Twitter)

Infrastructure projects in the Yukon are getting a boost with millions in funding from the territorial and federal governments.

The $69.7 million in combined funding will go to upgrading municipal water and wastewater systems, as well as to public transit.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi (left) with Yukon MP Larry Bagnell (centre) and Currie Dixon, Yukon’s minister of community services (right). (Amarjeet Sohi/Twitter)

Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi made the announcement Wednesday morning in Ottawa, along with Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Currie Dixon, the territory's minister of community services.

The funding will go to 22 projects for which the federal government is pitching in $52,280,275. Those include upgrades to water and wastewater lines in Mayo and Dawson City, sewage lagoon rehabilitation in Ross River and Old Crow, and improvements to public transit in Whitehorse. Dixon said two of the projects will see shovels in the ground this year.

Mayo will get more than $7 million. Mayor Scott Bolton said the community of 500 people does not have a big enough tax base to pay for multi-million dollar projects and has been putting off needed upgrades like a new water reservoir.

"They're huge, it's past time, we've had many studies done and this is first time we've had any kind of funding to be able to move forward on it," Bolton said. 

He estimates the improvements mean Mayo's water and sewer systems will not need any more upgrades for the next 20 years. Bolton credits the federal government for basing the funding on need, rather than population size.

The money comes from two new federal funds: the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund and the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

"We are pleased to be the first jurisdiction in the country to fully commit funding under these two important infrastructure funding programs," said Dixon in a news release.

"These funds not only increase the overall funding for water and wastewater infrastructure and public transit that we can deliver to Yukon communities, they will also create more work and provide welcome economic stimulus for the construction industry and for our communities."

Wednesday's announcement is part of the first phase of the federal Liberals' national infrastructure plan, which seeks to invest $120 billion in projects across the country over the next 10 years.