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  1. $14B in projects ready to go: Municipalities BY MIKE DE SOUZA, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE JANUARY 14, 2009 12:21 PM OTTAWA - More than 1,000 municipal infrastructure projects worth nearly $14 billion are “shovel ready” for job creation from coast to coast, according to a new list unveiled Wednesday by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The list represents an inventory of projects that are awaiting funds to start and was compiled following weeks of extensive consultations by the federation and its members. The federation says many municipalities have put these projects on the backburner, but could launch them this year and create thousands of jobs if money was available from the different levels of government. “The municipal world is ready to co-operate with the provinces, territories and the Canadian government to (tackle) the economic problems of Canada,” said Sherbrooke, Que., Mayor Jean Perrault, the president of the federation, during a media conference call. “The construction phase of an infrastructure project creates most of the jobs and getting projects underway this spring is crucial to offsetting the economic slowdown.” The projects include new investments in roads and bridges, waste management, buildings, public housing, water and waste water treatment facilities as well as public transit for cities and communities that are home to more than 19 million people across the country. The federation has been urging the Harper government to fast-track transfer payments from a new infrastructure program so that municipalities can get started on the projects and begin putting people to work as part of a stimulus package for the economy. Municipal officials have complained that there is too much red tape and administrative delays in getting the money flowing into their communities, but federal Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Baird has pledged to speed up the process by reducing red tape. Perrault said the funding should be modelled after the federal gas tax transfer which provides federal money for cities based on the size of their population. He also argued in favour of reducing double environmental assessments of new projects by both the federal and provincial governments explaining that many of the projects on hold in their list would not put Canada’s environment in jeopardy. “The environment is important. There are mechanisms and rules that we must follow,” said Perrault, “but what we told Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper and John Baird to reduce the red tape and that if there were environmental studies that overlap, why not have just one and ensure that it’s propitious.” Conservation groups and the NDP have both criticized the federal government for musing about reducing federal environmental assessments in favour of a single review of some of the smaller infrastructure projects. Baird said on Tuesday that the gas tax transfer program worked well since it did not require federal environmental assessments to operate. © Copyright © Canwest News Service Voici la liste des projets : http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/FCM%20Shovel%20Ready%20report_list%20En1KDL-1142009-4963.pdf