Clock Running Out on Canadian Stimulus Spending

With some construction projects behind schedule, municipal governments are asking the Harper government to extend their "spend-it-or-lose-it" deadline of March 31 2011.

A report from the parliamentary budget office has raised the possibility that the full allotment of stimulus monies intended for municipal infrastructure may not have been spent by the deadline imposed by the federal government, which could leave projects half-built and the financial responsibility of other levels of government.

"Canadian cities are calling on Ottawa to extend its deadline for some stimulus projects in response to a report showing up to half a billion dollars of infrastructure funds could go unspent, or dropped on municipalities' laps. When Ottawa cuts off its funding on March 31, 2011, the worst-case scenario is that $500.5-million in federal money will not have been claimed because of the delays...the situation is particularly acute in Saskatchewan, where heavy rains this spring and summer stalled work.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it was premature to speculate about whether the clock will run out on some projects, saying all federal work is on time and he believes a vast majority of municipal projects will also be completed."

Full Story: Extend deadline for stimulus: cities

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