While most of us wonder where the economic stimulus money has been hiding, since the $12 billion package was announced earlier this year, at least one politician is earnestly trying to figure it out.
"Because no one else is doing it, Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy and his staff of four are attempting to track the $12 billion in new infrastructure funding in the government's January budget," reports Carol Goar in today's Toronto Star.
It seems they are not having much luck:
Kennedy estimates that between 15 per cent and 25 per cent of the money has actually flowed. The rest has been promised, approved, allocated or announced - but municipalities don't have it.
Kennedy is, not surprisingly, critical of the Conservative government's reluctant release of the funds. But he goes on to detail his own criteria for supplying stimulus cash, and the means by which his party might supply it.
He (Kennedy) believes federal infrastructure funding should serve two primary purposes: to make Canada's cities more sustainable and to renew the quality of life in northern and remote communities.
This would make Ottawa less open to proposals to widen highways and accelerate road-building in urban areas and more open to proposals to find new uses for public buildings in towns struggling with depopulation.
He thinks the gas tax fund, through which Ottawa transfers a portion of its gasoline tax revenue to the municipalities, should be the principal vehicle for distributing infrastructure money.
Sounds like a smart politician to me.
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