Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced $200 million for small, northern and rural communities in the province on Friday, money they can use for infrastructure work.
The 2020 allotment of the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund totals $200 million and is going to 424 communities that qualify. Greater Sudbury's allocation for 2020 is $9,292,749, the largest amount any one city is receiving from the fund.
Ford and Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, said in a news release the funding is aimed at building and repairing local infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure.
"Ontario's economy is thriving, but we must ensure every person and every region across the province can share in this prosperity," Ford is quoted as saying in a news release. "Investing in infrastructure is critical to helping rural communities attract, support and sustain economic growth and job creation."
Scott said the funding demonstrates the province's commitment to support small, rural and northern municipalities across Ontario.
"Today's announcement provides the predictable and stable infrastructure funding small, rural and northern municipalities have requested," Scott said in the news release. "With this OCIF funding, we are working directly with our municipal partners to help them build much-needed community infrastructure."
The $200 million is allocated using criteria that takes into account such things as the amount of infrastructure a community has to maintain and local economic conditions.
Each of the 424 municipalities eligible for funding receive a minimum of $50,000, the amount Markstay-Warren is receiving. After Sudbury, the largest allocation is Thunder Bay, which is receiving $5.81 million. North Bay is getting $2.632 million, the Sault $2 million and Timmins $906,000.
During the 2020 city budget, staff estimated Sudbury would receive $9.2 million from the fund. It has been earmarked for bridges and culverts replacements and rehabilitation including Vermilion River Bridge on MR 55**, High Falls Road, Martindale Road, Moose Mountain Mine Road, Old Soo Road and Spanish River Road. The city's full capital budget for 2020 is $161 million, which includes a total of $30.5 million in grants from all upper levels of government and $42.2 million in debt financing.
In the news release from the province, the president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario welcomed the news.
"OCIF is an excellent example of the stable, predictable infrastructure funding small and rural communities need to help sustain and develop local communities and economies,” Jamie McGarvey is quoted as saying. “The announcement of 2020 OCIF allocations is timely and much appreciated.”
Ontario also provides funding to communities through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, a $30-billion, 10-year infrastructure program cost-shared between federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Ontario’s share per project will be up to 33.33 per cent, or $10.2 billion spread across four streams: rural and northern, transit infrastructure, and community, culture and recreation and green.
**The budget document Sudbury.com used as part of the information for this story included an error. The original document listed Vermilion River Road as one of the roads slated for repair, when in fact the correct piece of infrastructure is the Vermilion River Bridge.