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Feds to spend $10 billion on infrastructure to ignite COVID-19 economic recovery

Last Updated Oct 1, 2020 at 9:45 am PDT

FILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a closing press conference on the third and final day of the Liberal cabinet retreat in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Summary

The federal government announced $10 billion in infrastructure initiatives Thursday to help kickstart the economy

The Canada Infrastructure Bank teams up with private-sector companies to help fund projects and create jobs

Much of the spending is aimed at projects to help create a greener economy

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The federal government announced $10 billion in infrastructure initiatives Thursday to help kickstart the economy following the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding comes from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which teams up with private-sector companies to help fund major projects, and aims to create at least 60,000 jobs across the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the money will be widespread, including that for broadband, clean energy, and agricultural projects.

“This three-year growth plan will invest in everything from clean power, zero-emission buses, and home retrofits to broadband and irrigation infrastructure for farmers,” Trudeau said.

The growth plan will invest in five major initiatives:

  • $2.5 billion for clean power to support renewable generation and storage and to transmit clean electricity between provinces, territories, and regions, including to northern and Indigenous communities;
  • $2 billion to connect approximately 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband in underserved communities, so Canadians can better participate in the digital economy;
  • $2 billion to invest in large-scale building retrofits to increase energy efficiency and help make communities more sustainable;
  • $1.5 billion for agriculture irrigation projects to help the agriculture sector enhance production, strengthen Canada’s food security, and expand export opportunities;
  • $1.5 billion to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure so Canadians can have cleaner commutes.

The federal government will also allocate $500 million for project development and early construction works.

“The Canada Infrastructure Bank is critical to expanding Canada’s ambition by bringing in the private sector to get more infrastructure built,” Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna said.

“The bank’s $10-billion growth plan, focused on investments in broadband, clean energy, retrofits and agricultural irrigation, will create 60,000 jobs, grow the economy and help build a low-carbon future.”

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The funding is different than the one for infrastructure plagued by cashflow problems, since it requires provinces and municipalities to agree on a project to receive financial support.

The infrastructure bank is part of the Liberal plan outlined in the recent throne speech to restart the economy and create a million jobs overall.