Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi was in Surrey Friday to announce $73 million in funding from the federal gas tax fund for 57 infrastructure and planning projects throughout B.C.
From an artificial turf field in Prince George to various water and sewer upgrades to the replacement of a deteriorated bridge in Zeballos, the projects widely vary.
Sohi made the announcement in Surrey City Hall’s atrium, along with Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender and Al Richmond, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
After the announcement, Sohi said the best is yet to come.
“The new plan we are developing will also provide predictable, dedicated and transparent funding to where it’s needed – in public transit, in social infrastructure and in green infrastructure,” he said. “I am talking about the $60 billion new investment over the next 10 years.”
Sohi referred to the plan as “bold and ambitious.”
Asked when money would come for Surrey’s LRT, Sohi said, “the way the gas tax fund is designed, there are three components to that. And the component that provides funding to Surrey and the regional municipalities in the Metro area is a different funding envelope. (Today’s announcement) is for community’s that are not included in that funding.”
Sohi emphasized the federal government’s commitment to supporting the City of Surrey’s Light Rail System, which he said will come out of the $20 billion promised toward transit funding.
He wouldn’t say how much the federal government would commit.
Fassbender said the province is ready at the table with their one-third share for Surrey’s LRT.
“We are ready to move along,” Fassbender said. “Depending on what the federal government is prepared to do, that will affect the overall funding formula.”
The federal government provides more than $253 million annually toward municipal infrastructure through the gas tax fund in B.C.