Federal budget holds little detail for Saskatchewan mayors

Saskatchewan's major cities have been left with little indication as to how federal money will be spent following Tuesday's federal budget.

Mayors of Regina and Saskatoon waiting for more information before they plan spending

Saskatchewan's two major cities have been left with little indication as to how federal money will be spent following Tuesday's federal budget. 

Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison spoke to reporters about the 2014 federal budget Tuesday afternoon. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)
Mayor Don Atchison said although spending details are scarce, he has faith that the federal funding will be there when Saskatoon needs it.

"Minister Flaherty has said all along that it would be small amounts at the front end and that it would continue to grow every year," Atchison said. "I think that is what is important. We know that there is predictable, sustainable funding over many years."
The federal budget allocated $391.5 million over five years for highways, bridges and dams in National Parks.

Mayor Atchison told CBC News Saskatoon has several new building projects ready to go, including plans for 10 new overpasses and interchanges that need to be built soon. 

However, Atchison said there won't be any new spending on infrastructure until the federal government's plan is clear.

"Let's get the criteria first of all...there is no point in going out there and saying we are going to build from A to Z and then find out A to Z isn't on the schedule," Atchison said.

Adding to the vagueness of the budget, municipalities were left without an in-dept look into its impact thanks to a server crash at Federation of Canadian Municipalities' (FCM) Ottawa office. FCM usually provides cities with a break-down of the details after a federal budget comes through.

"When we saw the budget today, I was looking for more detail," Atchison said. "There may be more coming but we just have not seen it yet because of the problem we are having in Ottawa."

Budget just as vague for Regina 

Regina's Mayor Michael Fougere said he was also hoping to hear more about how that money would be spent. 

Regina's Mayor Michael Fougere says it's somewhat disappointing to have a federal budget with such little detail. (CBC)
"Certainly when you want to build an economy in Western Canada and Saskatchewan you are looking for support in infrastructure and housing which is critical, so I will suspend my other comments until I know what is being said, but so far there is vague details and that is somewhat disappointing," said Fougere.

He emphasized that a big concern was that nothing that came out from the budget mentioned housing. 

"It's a concern to us, we have 120 million contracts of support for housing within this province alone and we're concerned about how long that will last," he said. "We're hoping within the next day or two there will be more details on the Build Canada Fund." 

Last year, the government promised $53 billion nationally over 10 years for infrastructure, including a $14 billion for the Building Canada Fund. 

Fougere added he is please to see there is money allocated for training in the trades, but said even that was vague as well.