Province Expanding Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, Connecting Links Program
Plan Will Create Jobs, Boost the Economy and Build Up Critical Infrastructure
Ontario is providing small, rural and northern municipalities with expanded access to predictable, stable, annual funding to build and repair roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the expansion of the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) and the Connecting Links program today at the Ontario Good Roads Association / Rural Ontario Municipal Association Combined Conference.
Reflecting consultation feedback and the progress municipalities have made on their asset management plans, the OCIF will triple from $100 million to $300 million per year by 2018-19, with $200 million in predictable, formula-based funding and $100 million in application-based funding, allowing smaller municipalities to apply to invest in critical infrastructure projects. These investments will create jobs and support local economic growth across the province.
Premier Wynne also announced increased funding for Ontario's Connecting Links program. Connecting Links will provide $20 million in 2016 -17, up from $15 million announced in the 2015 Budget, to help municipalities pay for the construction and repair costs for designated connecting links -- municipal roads that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing. Funding for this program will increase to $30 million per year by 2018 -19.
In addition, the Premier announced that by the end of 2016, the province will be launching an interest-free loan program to help more communities access natural gas.
These programs are part of Moving Ontario Forward, Ontario's 10-year, $31.5-billion plan to build modern transportation and infrastructure networks that create jobs and growth across the province. Ontario is making the largest infrastructure investment in the province's history -- more than $134 billion over 10 years, which is making 110,000 jobs possible every year across the province, with projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals.
Expanding and improving infrastructure for Ontario's small, rural and northern municipalities is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- OCIF funding is intended for small, rural and northern municipalities with under 100,000 in population.
- A recent report by the Broadbent Institute and the Centre for Spatial Economics found that, on average, investing $1 in public infrastructure in Canada raises GDP by $1.43 in the short term and up to $3.83 in the long term.
- To date, more than 135 critical infrastructure projects related to water, sewers, roads and bridges have been approved through the OCIF application-based component, and 426 communities have received grants under the fund’s formula-based component.
- This new Connecting Links program was launched in November 2015, and applications were received in early 2016. Successful applicants will receive funding starting in spring 2016.
“Ontario’s long-term prosperity and future success is directly tied to improving infrastructure across the entire province. By expanding the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund and the Connecting Links program, our government is providing small, rural, and northern communities with the predictable infrastructure funding they need to improve their productivity, stimulate growth and create jobs.”
“Today’s announcement addresses a key theme we heard during the Moving Ontario Forward consultations: the need to provide stable, predictable infrastructure funding. By continuing to partner with municipalities across Ontario, we’re providing additional funding to help small, rural and northern communities undertake critical infrastructure projects within their asset management plans.”
“Building and repairing roads, bridges and other forms of critical infrastructure is of the utmost importance for rural communities across our province. Through this expanded fund, we are providing our municipal partners with the tools they need to invest in reliable public infrastructure that will attract investment, promote long-term economic growth and create jobs.”
“We’ve heard from our municipal partners that restoring Connecting Links funding is critical to both the long-term economic benefits of durable highway infrastructure as well as the safety of Ontario’s road users. Our program will help municipalities pay for construction and repairs for Connecting Links within their communities, helping to keep moving Ontario forward.”
Steven Del Duca