City’s infrastructure budget set at $340 million for 2019

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The City of Ottawa’s draft 2019 budget includes $340 million for infrastructure, including $118.7 for municipal infrastructure projects and $15 million for new affordable housing construction. The overall infrastructure budget covers roads, bridges, buildings, watermains, sewers and transit.

The budget, tabled at city council on Feb. 6, includes a 3 per cent property tax increase, which the city says in a statement will fund an additional $9.8 million for roads and other municipal infrastructure, such as sidewalks, buildings and bridges. The water rate will increase by 4.8 per cent ($36 per year for the average household in the urban area).

The increased municipal infrastructure investment to $128.5 million will close the infrastructure gap within the next five years, twice as fast as previously planned, the statement says.

The proposed budget also includes $49 million to resurface and upgrade roads, an increase from an average of $35.5 million per year in the last Term of Council.

The city plans to allocate $15 million to build more affordable housing, supporting construction of 125 new affordable housing units this year. Should other levels of government match this unprecedented municipal investment, this could double construction to up to 250 new units. Many of these units will be built near transit or light-rail stations.

“Ottawa’s economy is booming, but we can’t lose sight of our most vulnerable residents. As such, we are proposing the largest one-year investment in affordable housing in the city’s history,” Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement. “We are focussed on keeping the city affordable, while still delivering better roads and transit, and safer communities.”

The tax-supported operating budget for the city would be $3.2 billion, an $85-million increase over 2018.

The proposed spending plan will be considered by all standing committees, then by council on Wednesday, March 6.

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