Shovels in … mid-air

GTA still waiting for stimulus cash

The projects are ready to go, but hundreds of millions of promised federal funding dollars is still in bureaucratic limbo, and that has left local municipalities facing a “tough choice, the Toronto Star reports today: Do they cross their fingers and break ground on some of those hundreds of approved-in-principle infrastructure projects now, and hope that the cheques will be in the mail in time to pay the construction costs — or wait for a formal agreement? Both the provincial and federal governments are advising cities to build now, even if there isn’t a signed agreement in place, and some cities, like the “cautiously optimistic” Durham Region, which has gone ahead with tenders for several road and pipe replacement jobs. But others, like Oakville, fear that could leave already cash-strapped cities on the hook for the bill: “Expecting municipalities to start projects without these signed agreements” could put cities at risk, according to Oakville treasurer Patti Elliott-Spencer. “We don’t really know the full rules of the program.”

Toronto Star