Watson: Federal budget delivers major results for municipalities

OPINION – Today’s budget builds on the federal government’s previous commitment to working with municipalities to deliver positive and significant outcomes for residents in the areas of infrastructure, affordable housing, transit and the environment.

Continued infrastructure investments are crucial. In particular, a long-term, predictable and permanent public transit fund is essential to providing stability and facilitating long-term city-building.

I am extremely pleased with the one time doubling of the federal gas tax funds. This will mean an additional $56.7 million for Ottawa in 2019. This funding will significantly improve the affordability of our transit capital projects that will benefit Ottawa residents for generations to come.

Earlier this month, city council approved our financial plan for moving forward with Stage 2 of LRT, for which the federal government has already committed $1.16 billion in funding. I look forward to a continued partnership with the federal government as we begin to plan for Stage 3. 

This budget also builds on and modernizes the federal-municipal relationship by providing $1 billion in direct federal funding to municipalities, through the FCM, for a variety of green initiatives that will achieve meaningful results for residents.

 The City of Ottawa remains committed to working with federal and provincial counterparts to help ensure everyone has a safe place to live and that we eliminate chronic homelessness. The city’s 2019 budget includes an additional $15 million for affordable housing over and above existing allocations, and we welcome federal initiatives that will accelerate delivery of federal funding through the National Housing Strategy.

 In addition, the $300 million fund announced to enable retrofits of residential units will help Ottawa residents enhance the energy efficiency of their homes.

 This budget delivers major results for municipalities and is a turning point for cities who deliver direct services to residents on the ground. Our staff will be looking at the details of today’s Budget over the coming weeks to identify all funding opportunities that would benefit the residents of Ottawa.”

Statement by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson following today’s tabling of the Government of Canada’s 2019 Budget