Halifax mayor Mike Savage hopes for federal money to fix water infrastructure

The mayor of Halifax says that updating and repairing the city’s water system is a top priority when the federal government begins doling out new infrastructure money.

Mike Savage has a meeting with the federal minister of infrastructure on Wednesday

Halifax mayor Mike Savage has a list of infrastructure work that needs to be done in the city, but he says upgrading and repairing the water system is the top priority. (CBC)

The mayor of Halifax says that updating and repairing the city's water system is a top priority when the federal government begins doling out new infrastructure money. 

"It's not particularly sexy as an issue, but that is really what the city needs," Mayor Mike Savage told Information Morning.   

Ottawa is planning on spending billions on infrastructure in the next few years to address the deteriorating roads, pipes and transit systems that are plaguing Canadian cities. 

All that spending is also a key part of the federal government's response to the downturn in the country's economy.    

"We are — by Canadian standards at least — an old city, we have pipes that need work. We have identified through Halifax Water a couple of years ago a list of projects that need to be done, which amount to $2.5 billion," said Savage.

The mayor has a few other items on his infrastructure wish list too. Savage would like more money to improve the city's transit system and an investment in the city's urban areas. 

Savage said the federal government has put $20 billion into three different categories: green, transit and social infrastructure. City officials have to figure out where their requests fit. 

"Under what fund do [we put] water, waste water? Is that the green fund? I'm glad they identified these buckets of money. We just need to know, for example, what projects line up under which funds."  

Deliver more, announce less

Savage hopes the new federal government will learn from what he considers the missteps of the Conservative government. 

"Deliver more and announce less. I can't tell you how often you read an announcement where you're thinking: 'Holy cow didn't we just do this?' Because you know there's a pre-announcement, there's an announcement, there's a reminder that its been announced." 

"Let's deliver the projects ... it's amazing what you can do if you don't care who gets the credit."  

On Wednesday, Savage will meet with Amarjeet Sohi, the federal minister of infrastructure. 

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