It was great to be back in Thunder Bay—Rainy River last week and participate in some much-needed infrastructure announcements in our riding. These announcements are part of our government’s plan to invest in communities and improve the well-being of all Canadians.
Specifically, the Government of Canada has committed to investing $186 billion in infrastructure funding over the next 12 years. This is more than double the existing funding, and several new and exciting investments have already been put into projects that will create economic growth, build inclusive communities and support the economy. These investments are crucial to creating long-term growth and jobs for the middle class and providing communities across the country with the tools they need to prosper.
Currently, there are five different pots of funding in the Infrastructure Canada budget: green, social, public transit, trade and transportation and rural and northern communities.
Budget 2016, which runs from April 2016-April 2017, invested $5 billion in green infrastructure that will support Canada's ongoing transition to a clean growth economy. These investments are needed to support greenhouse gas emission reductions, enable greater climate change adaptation and resilience, and ensure that more communities can provide clean air and safe drinking water to their citizens. To achieve this, the federal government will work with provincial, municipal and Indigenous partners to support green infrastructure projects that will deliver the best outcomes for Canada. Of this funding, $2 billion will be put into Infrastructure Canada’s new Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) to provide communities with more reliable water and wastewater systems.
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, has approved CWWF for 16 communities in our region, including the Township of Gillies, the Municipality of Neebing, the Township of O’Connor, the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, the City of Thunder Bay, the Town of Atikokan, the Township of Emo, the Town of Rainy River, and the Town of Fort Frances. Water and wastewater infrastructure is essential to keeping our water clean, and our communities healthy. This funding will improve the safety and quality of water for families, while supporting a clean economy.
Investments in social infrastructure will focus on affordable housing and homelessness prevention, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure. These investments will strengthen the middle class, improve socio-economic outcomes and foster economic growth by lifting more Canadians out of poverty. Investing in Canada’s communities is not only about creating good jobs and encouraging clean economic growth but also about building stronger communities. By making new investments in social infrastructure, Budget 2016 will help strengthen the middle class, promote inclusive growth for Canadians, and lift more Canadians out of poverty. $3.4 billion will be put into this pot over the next five years.
Public Transit is receiving $3.4 billion worth of funding over the next 3 years, which will go towards building and improving urban transit networks that will transform the way the way Canadians commute in their daily lives. Public transit infrastructure investments will focus on funding construction and expansion projects that will build the transit systems of the 21st century. This funding will help to shorten commute times, cut air pollution, strengthen communities and grow Canada's economy. Budget 2016 allocated $6.3 million in funding for public transit infrastructure in Thunder Bay.
The government is also investing in trade and transportation projects that will build more efficient ways to move Canadian goods to international markets. Canada is a trading nation, and we are committed to building the world-class infrastructure we need to be competitive on a global scale. The government will also support critical transportation needs in Canada's North that will strengthen community connectivity to trade and investment opportunities. Trade and Transportation will receive $10.1 billion over the next 11 years.
The final pot of funding is for rural and northern communities. This government recognizes that small, rural and remote northern communities have unique infrastructure needs that require a unique approach. Over the next 11 years, $2 billion will be put towards supporting these communities and their infrastructure requirements, such as expanding road access and internet connectivity, upgrading existing heating systems, and pursuing renewable sources of energy to reduce reliance on diesel fuel.