Mayors are hoping the referendum requirement for any new funding model won’t be a roadblock when the Trudeau government unleashes billions in expected infrastructure dollars in tomorrow’s budget.
Port Coquitlam Mayor and Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore says the Mayors want to move quickly to use the money once tomorrow’s budget gives them a clearer picture of how much is coming and for what.
Moore says also needing clarification is the funding split, particularly how much of the region’s third share the feds are willing to pick up, and how much the region will then have to cover.
“We are looking at a number of different funding strategies regionally that we could go forward with but most of them will require a referendum. So we will need to work with the provincial government to see if there is any flexibility there so that we can take advantage of the federal money and start putting shovels in the ground or buses on the roads.”
Moore wouldn’t rule out using property tax, the only funding mechanism to not require a vote, to pick up the region’s portion of the bill.
“It has been a longstanding position of the mayors in the region that property tax isn’t the most appropriate and we already have dedicated where property tax will go in the future. As we go forward we are looking at all the different funding sources that we could fund our portion of it because we also don’t want to walk away from billions of dollars from the federal and provincial government.”
Tomorrow’s federal budget will reveal how much infrastructure money is coming, for what, and if the Trudeau government will pick up part of the regions bill.