Local mayors generally pleased with Ontario's budget

Some eastern Ontario mayors said while they're happy to be getting money for infrastructure over the next three years, they were hoping for a longer-term plan in Thursday's budget.

Hopes for longer-term infrastructure plan dashed

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne applauds Finance Minister Charles Sousa as he begins to deliver his first budget speech. (Nathan Dennette/Canadian Press)

Some of eastern Ontario’s mayors said Thursday’s provincial budget is a good start to getting money for infrastructure.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s $127.6 billion budget includes more than $35 billion in money for roads, sewers and other infrastructure projects over the next three years.

Smiths Falls Mayor Dennis Staples said that money could go towards upgrading Highway 15, which connects Ottawa and Kingston and runs through his community.

However, he said that’s just one of many priorities.

"We need a permanent, long-standing, long-term program to address the needs well into the future," Staples said.

"It just can’t be solved in one or two years."

Watson was looking for same commitment as feds

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said while he was looking for a longer-term commitment to infrastructure, he’s happy there’s money in the short term.

"Really what we did want was a longer term commitment, something in the line of between ten and 20 years," Watson said.

"But we're pleased the government did announce they would make the commitment for permanent funding in next year's budget."

Watson had said he was looking for a plan similar to the ten-year approach of the federal government in their last budget.

A 2012 report by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities said close to a third of Ottawa’s pipes and 15 per cent of its roads are more than 40 years old and will soon need to be repaired.

Watson also said he was pleased the province will take back some of the costs given to municipalities in the 1990s and continue to share its gas tax with cities to help pay for public transit.

As it’s a minority Liberal government, the budget must still garner enough opposition votes to pass.