03/25/2008

Toronto, Ontario, March 25, 2008 – AMO President Doug Reycraft applauded the 2008 Provincial Budget with its focus on job creation and additional investment in communities.
“Investing in job creation and municipal infrastructure is a sound investment for Ontario,” said Doug Reycraft, President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. “Investing an additional $1billion in municipal infrastructure means more job creation, sustainable, competitive communities and a better quality of life for Ontarians.” 

The 2008 Provincial Budget, tabled in the Legislature today by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan contained a new $1 billion infrastructure investment package for municipalities including: 

  • $400 million for municipal roads and bridges outside of Toronto, to be allocated based on a municipality’s share of Ontario’s road network in relation to population;
  • $497 million for public transit in the GTA;
  • $100 million in funding for repairs to 4000 social housing units (announced on March 17th).
This funding will be allocated to municipalities by the end of March 2008.

“Addressing Ontario’s municipal infrastructure deficit is critical to attracting investment to our communities and to Ontario,” said Reycraft. “This Budget demonstrates that Ontario’s open for business and investing in prosperity.”

The Budget also included $30 million over four years for rural broadband expansion and an additional $30 million over four years for the Rural Economic Development (RED) program. 

The initiatives announced in today’s budget continue the transformation of fiscal arrangements between the Province and municipal governments emerging from the current Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review.   Those changes have included:
  • The $935 million upload over four years of the costs of the provincial Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB) program and the provincial Ontario Disability Support Programs (ODSP).  This important milestone was announced by Premier McGuinty at the 2007 AMO Conference.
  • A $44 million Stable Funding Guarantee for the 2008 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) allocation.
  • The $450 million 2008 Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative (MIII), which will be distributed to municipalities by March 31, 2008.
  • Bill 35, the Investing in Ontario Act, which if passed, would see municipal infrastructure benefit from any confirmed 2007-08 provincial budget surplus over an initial $600 million allocated to the provincial debt.  This initiative could provide up to $2 billion in municipal infrastructure investment in 2008.  
AMO commends the government for its much needed infrastructure investments and the uploading of significant social service program costs. These initiatives combined with today’s Budget speak to the objectives of the ongoing Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review.

Through the Review AMO is seeking to: 
  • secure sustainable, accountable, and transparent provincial-municipal fiscal arrangements; 
  • ensure that investment in municipal infrastructure meets the current and future needs of Ontarians; and 
  • improve the quality of municipally managed human services in Ontario. 
The Review’s consensus-based report is expected in late June 2008.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 445 municipal governments.  AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.  

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