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April 27, 2005
For immediate release

Governments to Invest More Than $120 Million for Infrastructure in Island Communities

Community and Cultural Affairs

Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Joe McGuire, and Shawn Murphy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, together with Premier Pat Binns and Elmer MacFadyen, Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, today announced a five-year infrastructure governance framework that will ensure a focused approach to the management of three infrastructure funds on Prince Edward Island. As well, the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) agreement was signed concurrently as the first concrete action of this enhanced management approach.

The Government of Canada and the Province of PEI, in cooperation with Island communities, will identify, plan and implement infrastructure projects to be delivered through the three flagship programs: the MRIF, the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF) and the transfer of federal gas tax revenues under the New Deal for Cities and Communities. This “one-committee, three-program” governance framework for the Canada-PEI MRIF Agreement, CSIF and the federal gas tax investments, recognizes the need to take into account local factors and conditions while addressing national and local infrastructure priorities.

“Modern infrastructure plays a critical role in the development of healthy, sustainable and vibrant communities, evidenced by the success of previous infrastructure agreements,” said Minister McGuire. “The Government of Canada understands the unique needs of each individual province and is pleased to play a vital role in this partnership initiative because it not only recognizes Prince Edward Island’s concerns, it works to address them. Through this framework, Island communities will continue to grow and thrive. This is evidence of the New Deal for Cities and Communities at work.”

“The Government of Prince Edward Island is proud to invest in the long term development and future sustainability of communities across the province,” said Premier Pat Binns. “These investments and the joint management accord signal the beginning of an era of unprecedented municipal infrastructure development in Prince Edward Island.”

The $121.5 million in infrastructure funds to be managed under the governance framework and invested in Prince Edward Island communities over the next five years are broken down as follows:

• Canada-PEI MRIF - $54 million, representing equal investments by the three levels of government;

• CSIF - $30 million, representing a $15 million investment by the Government of Canada and a $15 million investment by the Government of Prince Edward Island; and

• Federal gas tax funding - $37.5 million invested by the Government of Canada over five years.

The vision for the Canada-PEI infrastructure governance framework is to invest a minimum of 40 percent of funds from the Canada-PEI MRIF Agreement towards green projects in order to promote sustainable development in the province. Priorities for the CSIF funding are under discussion but will likely focus on national highway system designated routes, including Highway 2, and urban development and tourism infrastructure; while the federal gas tax funds will support environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure projects.

“Investing in infrastructure is a priority for the Government of Canada, and for our partners,” said Parliamentary Secretary Murphy. “When we build new relationships that support sustainable infrastructure, we help to ensure that good roads and bridges, water and wastewater treatment facilities and community facilities are accessible to all communities.”

“These infrastructure programs ensure communities, big and small, can afford the infrastructure required to meet the growing needs of residents, effectively preparing communities for future development and ongoing prosperity,” said Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, the Honourable Elmer MacFadyen.

“These programs are an excellent example of all three levels of government cooperating for the betterment of our cities, towns and communities,” said Stan Campbell, President of the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities.

The governance framework will ensure an effective shared vision for the overall administration, governance and general policy guidelines for infrastructure funds in PEI. It recognizes the unique role of the province in supporting roads and bridges and offering services to Islanders, and will ensure that the benefits of these programs are shared across urban and rural, incorporated and unincorporated municipalities on the island. The framework is also a groundbreaking example of how the Government of Canada is delivering the New Deal for Cities and Communities, working with provinces, territories, First Nations and municipalities to support local needs and priorities.

For more information about federal and provincial infrastructure initiatives that benefit the communities of Prince Edward Island, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.gov.pe.ca/go.infrastructure

BACKGROUNDER

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND INFRASTRUCTURE GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK

Infrastructure Funds included Under the Governance Framework: $121.5 million

The Prince Edward Island Infrastructure Governance Framework is a “one-committee, three-program” approach. The Governance Framework endorses a locally based and responsive management structure for the following three infrastructure programs: the Canada-Prince Edward Island Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CPEI-MRIF), the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF) and transfer of federal gas tax revenues under the New Deal for Cities and Communities.

Over $120 million in infrastructure funds will be managed under the governance framework and invested in Prince Edward Island communities over the next five years.

The CPEI-MRIF ($54 million) represents equal investments by the three levels of government. The CSIF ($30 million) represents a $15 million investment by the Government of Canada and a $15 million investment by the Government of Prince Edward Island. Federal gas tax funding will provide PEI communities with an additional $37.5 million over five years.

Why a Governance Framework?

Building on the past 10 years of intergovernmental cooperation for infrastructure programming on Prince Edward Island, the Governance Framework provides a shared vision in the development of agreements and policy for the CPEI-MRIF, CSIF (Phase II) and the transfer of federal gas tax revenues.

This Governance Framework will ensure that the benefits of three infrastructure programs are shared across urban and rural, incorporated and unincorporated municipalities on Prince Edward Island. It outlines an integrated approach to the overall administration of these programs, taking into account local factors, conditions and priorities.

While national programming policies need to be fully respected, it is also important to account and plan for local regional realities and priorities. For example, much of Prince Edward Island is not organized into incorporated municipalities (over 70 percent) and more than 30 percent of Islanders live outside of incorporated communities. Within incorporated communities, the provincial government maintains over 80 percent of local roads and bridges.

Canada and Prince Edward Island support the value of municipal participation in the process and will engage the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities and PEI communities.

Who will Manage the Governance Framework?

The three levels of government will work together on this cooperative approach. A senior-level Partnership Implementation Committee will include:

• Infrastructure Canada and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) on behalf of the Government of Canada; and

• Prince Edward Island’s departments of Intergovernmental Affairs and Community and Cultural Affairs, on behalf of the province.

This Committee will be supported by other parties including federal and provincial delivery partners such as Transport Canada.

National Infrastructure Programs in PEI – A Brief Overview

Canada-PEI Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CPEI-MRIF) – ($54 million). The Canada-PEI Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund will support smaller scale municipal infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life, sustainable development and economic opportunities, particularly of smaller communities. The $54 million fund represents the total of joint investments by all three levels of government.

Eligibility criteria and application procedures for the CPEI-MRIF are available at www.gov.pe.ca/go/infrastructure. Information packages will also be mailed to communities in the coming weeks.

Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF- Phase II) – ($30 million in joint funding). Canada and PEI will continue to work together on the priorities for this fund, which will likely focus on national highway system designated routes, including Highway 2, and urban development and tourism infrastructure. Investments will be directed to large-scale projects of national and regional significance. Any funding is subject to the identified priorities meeting all federal requirements, including the terms and conditions of CSIF and completion of the necessary environmental assessments.

Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenues under the New Deal for Cities and Communities – ($37.5 million). Canada and the province will negotiate an agreement to provide PEI with $37.5 million over five years in federal gas tax funding that will benefit both large and small communities. Federal gas tax funding will provide cities and communities with a source of stable, predictable and long-term funding towards environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure. This funding will help these communities meet sustainability outcomes including reduced green house gas emissions, cleaner water and cleaner air.

Gas tax funding is incremental to existing federal, provincial and local government support measures for community infrastructure.

BACKGROUNDER

THE MUNICIPAL RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUND IN

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Project support

Through the Canada-Prince Edward Island Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, the Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island will each invest $18 million primarily in small and rural PEI communities over five years. Together with funding from local governments, investments in Island infrastructure could reach $54 million.

The Need

The need for this fund is clear. Municipal leaders consistently identify infrastructure as their most pressing issue. Many municipalities must repair or replace roads, water and sewage systems that were put in place decades ago. In high-growth areas, transportation routes are growing congested and municipal services are straining to keep up with demand.

Through MRIF and other infrastructure programs, the governments of Canada and PEI are working to enable municipalities to undertake infrastructure enhancements that might otherwise not be undertaken for years.

Priorities

The MRIF includes a strong “green” element. At least 40 per cent of the fund will support projects that lead to cleaner air and water. These include improvements to local systems for water, wastewater, solid waste, and environmental energy improvements to municipal buildings. Public transit projects also count as “green,” helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

The fund also provides for investment in other categories such as local roads, better Internet connections, and projects that promote local culture, recreation and tourism.

Additionally, up to 1% of the fund will be devoted to infrastructure capacity building to help communities better assess their existing infrastructure and strengthen municipal planning.

Program Eligibility and Application Information

All PEI local governments are eligible to apply for funding under MRIF. All project proposals will need to be supported by a municipal resolution. Not-for-profit and private-sector organizations are also eligible for funding with supportive resolutions from both the Local Government where the project would be located and from the organization’s board of directors.

In addition, up to 5% of the fund will be earmarked for smaller projects with total eligible costs under $100,000. This will help ensure smaller communities with smaller-scale projects also benefit from the Fund.

Applicants will be invited to submit their MRIF applications on-line at www.gov.pe.ca/go/infrastructure. In addition, the Canada-PEI Infrastructure Secretariat will mail the application form on interactive CD-ROMs to all PEI local governments. Paper applications will be available upon request through the Secretariat by calling at 902-368-4882 or 902-566-7097. The Secretariat can also be reached by e-mail at cpei-infrastructure@gov.pe.ca

Program Delivery and Efficient Management

The joint Canada-PEI Infrastructure Secretariat will continue to manage MRIF, process applications and correspond with applicants and recipients through its single-window program delivery model.

Projects will be reviewed by a federal-provincial management committee in a competitive, merit-based manner in accordance with the mandatory screening and ranking criteria of the particular project category. These criteria are available at www.gov.pe.ca/go/infrastructure.

MRIF

The $1 billion Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund was announced in the 2003 federal budget as a ten-year program. In 2004, the Government of Canada reduced the MRIF timeline to 5 years to respond more quickly to the needs of smaller communities across the country.

MRIF helps balance support for smaller communities with other programs such as the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), a $4 billion program that supports large-scale, strategic projects. To date through CSIF, the Government of Canada has announced $15 million for water and wastewater treatment projects on Prince Edward Island.

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Media Contact: Jennifer MacLeod
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