Councillor Russell Walker
The 2013 federal budget released on March 21 provided great news for municipalities across the country, particularly the new infrastructure program announcement. Moreover, the indexing of the federal gas tax will generate an additional $9 billion in new funding nationally over the next 20 years. The requests of many municipalities to expand the eligibility criteria was heard, and virtually all municipal assets will be included in the new gas tax agreement. The Building Canada Fund is being renewed for 10 years, and a review will be done in 5 years to assess the success of the fund in meeting infrastructure needs. These gains came, in large part, as a result of the work of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. I would like to thank the FCM for their efforts. Your Nova Scotia FCM board members−Warden Lloyd Hines (District of Guysborough), Mayor Don Downe (District of Lunenburg), and Councillor Bill Karsten (HRM)− worked hard on your behalf, and will continue to ensure Nova Scotia municipal needs are addressed under the new programs. I would also like to thank the UNSM membership as well. UNSM had suggested municipalities take up the infrastructure banner, and many Councils answered the call by passing resolutions in support of FCM's requests, and talking to their MPs and stakeholders. Together we have accomplished a great deal. The UNSM will continue to work with FCM in assisting with program design as the infrastructure program is fleshed out.