Kitchener, Waterloo mayors call on federal parties to cough up more money for municipalities

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has revealed an election wish-list that calls on whoever forms the next federal government to permanently double the amount of cash transferred to local governments through the federal gas tax fund.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities has announced election wish list

Kitchener mayor Berry Vrbanovic (centre) announced the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' election wishlist, alongside Strathroy-Caradoc Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden and Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says it wants whoever forms the next federal government to commit to sharing more money with municipalities, to pay for local infrastructure projects. 

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky were at Kitchener City Hall Thursday for the unveiling of the federation's election wish list, alongside Strathroy Caradoc Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden.

The top priority on their election list is a commitment to permanently doubling the money transferred to local governments through the federal gas tax fund.

"When we have those dollars, we can better plan," said Vrbanovic, because he said governments can shop around for the best possible price on infrastructure projects, instead of scrambling to respond to "one-off" funding boosts.

Last year, the gas tax fund sent $2.2 billion to 3,600 municipalities. This year's federal budget included a one-time doubling of the fund, which the mayors said has already made a difference locally.

Gas tax fund projects

In Waterloo, the extra cash contributed to infrastructure projects such as a new adult recreation centre, as well as the East Side Branch of the Waterloo Public Library.

"These are key projects, which bring value to the entire demographics of the city of Waterloo," said Jaworsky.

The federation of municipalities election requests also call for a permanent public transit funding mechanism, long-term funding for climate adaptation and better broadband Internet in rural and remote communities.

During their announcement, the FCM launched an election tracker where voters can check and see where parties land on the different issues outlined in the federation's platform.

The group, which represents Canadian rural, town and city governments, clarified that it will not endorse any specific party.