How to fund an arena for a hypothetical NHL team without really doing so

Greg Weston previews the government’s next move.

Sources tell CBC News that the Conservative government is considering allowing part of the federal gas tax revenues to be used for construction of “large entertainment centres” such as the proposed new Quebec City arena. Cities and towns across the country currently share an annual pot of just over $2 billion from the federal gas taxes collected at the pumps.

While municipalities are free to pick their own projects, the federal government stipulates the gas-tax money can only be used for infrastructure such as roads, sewers and water treatment systems. Sources say the Harper government is considering simply amending the federal regulations to allow municipalities to spend all or part of their annual gas-tax funds on entertainment facilities such as a new NHL arena.

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