Infrastructure Canada releases details on Phase 2 of Federal Infrastructure Funding: Opportunities for Hamilton in Goods Movement, Public Transit and Green Infrastructure

· by Huzaifa Saeed

On Thursday, July 6th, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi released Provincial Mandate letters outlining details of Phase 2 of their Government’s ambitious infrastructure fund.

Under Phase 2, the federal investment includes four funding streams to be delivered over the next 11 years:

$20.1 billion for public transit;
$9.2 billion for green infrastructure;
$1.3 billion for community, culture and recreation infrastructure; and
$2.4 billion for wide-ranging infrastructure needs in rural and northern communities. This includes the $400 million Arctic Energy Fund, which will be delivered under this stream to support energy security in the territories.

The money will be rolled out through formula based bilateral agreements with the Province of Ontario, a new Federal Infrastructure Bank and programs like the Smart Cities Challenge.

Here are a few areas of interest for Hamilton:

  1. Public Transit: The provincial and territorial allocation is determined by a formula based on ridership (70%) and population (30%). This blended formula balances demands on existing systems while providing support for expected population growth. Within each jurisdiction, funding will be further allocated to existing public transit systems based solely on their respective ridership, with some flexibility possible to address regional requirements. 

    The Public Transit stream allocation for Ontario is $8,340,401,116. This amount includes $872.2 million for Ottawa Light Rail Transit 2. In addition to enhancements to HSR and CN/Metrolinx infrastructure delivered in Budget 2016, the City of Hamilton can potentially frame investments into the A-Line and B-Line expansions through these programs.

    Advocacy moving forward: We will continue to provide support to the City’s priorities and work with our local MP’s to make sure Hamilton receives its fair share. The City of Hamilton has a 10-year investment strategy for HSR to ensure we are a Rapid Transit Ready system. Based on the government’s prioritization of ridership numbers within the funding formula, we believe that greater municipal contribution towards a City-wide system is critical towards boosting ridership and enhancing our eligibility for additional Provincial and Federal investments. Moving forward, our LRT Task Force will also be considering opportunities within these funds.

  2. Goods Movement: Earlier this week Minister of Transportation, Mark Garneau announced the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative which provided additional detail on items previously announced in Budget 2017 including:
    o $2 billion over 11 years for the National Trade Corridors Fund, a merit-based program to strengthen the efficiency and reliability of national trade corridors
    o $50 million over five years to stimulate innovation and foster the adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as connected vehicles and automated vehicles (CV/AVs) – by updating regulations and standards and working with key partners; and
    o $50 million over 11 years to launch a Trade and Transportation Information System (TTIS), implemented by a new Canadian Centre on Transportation Data (CCTD).

    This is a big win for the Chamber network and other organizations and companies that have advocated for an increased focus on merit-based trade-enabling infrastructure investments in the federal infrastructure plan. The Chamber will continue to advocate that a larger share of funding should be allocated to trade-enabling infrastructure in the context of a $180 billion plan.

    Investments into trade-enabling infrastructure were a key focus of our Canadian Chamber of Commerce policy resolution submission and pre-budget consultations with local MPs.

    More information on trade corridors can be found here.

    Advocacy moving forward: We will continue to work with local organizations (Businesses, Port, Airport, City) to advocate and create awareness on Hamilton’s potential to be a major goods movement hub in Southern Ontario. Goods movement was also a key focus area at the Bay Area Economic Summit 2017, and we look forward to greater collaboration with stakeholders in Burlington and beyond.

  3. Smart Cities Challenge: The Challenge, which will invest $300 million to encourage cities and their most creative minds to adopt new and innovative approaches to city-building and the digitalization of urban services. 

    A smart city uses technology and data to improve livability and opportunities for the city and its people.

    Smart cities have the potential to improve every aspect of community life – how people move around, how they live and play, how they earn a living, how they learn and are empowered to participate in society, how they interact with the natural environment, and how they create safe and secure public spaces. Modeled on similar challenges in the United States, the government will award prizes worth up to $50 Million to cities under different size categories. For more information, please click here.

    Advocacy moving forward: Under the leadership of our new Digital Hamilton Task Force, we will be engaging the City of Hamilton, Smart Cities competition staff and global firms towards the convening of a local planning committee and workshops. The City of Hamilton is also convening an internal response to the opportunities, and we hope to support their efforts in developing a public-private partnership.

  4. Green Infrastructure: The fund is divided into three streams.
    Climate Change Mitigation—supporting projects such as cleaner energy generation, cleaner transportation initiatives and others that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
    Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation—helping to make communities more resilient by investing in projects that enable them to better withstand and mitigate the impacts of climate change; and
    Environmental Quality—building healthier communities through investments in clean, safe drinking water, sewage treatment, and reducing or remediating soil and air pollutants.

    Under the Green Infrastructure stream, each province and territory receives a base amount of $200 million, with the remaining funds allocated according to population, using 2016 Statistics Canada Census data.

    Our Advocacy moving forward: As part of the Chamber network, we have been vocal in indicating the need for additional support for businesses to move towards a low carbon economy. Under the Federally enforced Carbon Pricing model, the Province of Ontario has introduced the Cap and Trade system as of January 1st, 2017, which stands to have an operational impact and competitiveness of many businesses in Hamilton.

    We will be arguing for concessions against the additional burden faced by Hamilton industries, who operate in a trade exposed environment, competing in the market against countries like China and United States, with relatively lax environmental regulations.

    However, Hamilton also has a strong presence of Clean Technology startups and knowledge base through McMaster University and Mohawk College. We anticipate economic development opportunities emerging from these funding streams.

For more information, please contact: Huzaifa Saeed | Policy & Research Analyst | Hamilton Chamber of Commerce | t: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 | e: