The territorial and federal governments have agreed to renew the federal Gas Tax Fund.
MP Ryan Leef and Minister of Community Services Brad Cathers officially signed on the dotted line yesterday at a media event.
This latest agreement guarantees funding for infrastructure projects through the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
It’s estimated that the Yukon will receive $163 million over that time.
The money “will provide stable and predictable funding to help Yukon communities build and revitalize their public infrastructure while creating jobs and long-term prosperity,” Leef said.
The fund was originally created to spend $5 billion across Canada from 2005 to 2010. It was later extended until 2014 with an additional $2 billion.
In 2014, Yukon received $15 million.
Starting this year, the renewed federal gas tax fund is being indexed at two per cent per year.
“That essentially means the Gas Tax Fund will grow by $1.8 billion over the next decade,” Leef said.
This new deal has the same financial breakdown as the old one. Yukon’s share of gas tax funds is split between municipalities (68 per cent), First Nations (25 per cent) and the government of Yukon on behalf of unincorporated communities (seven per cent).
The new deal means the funds can also be used for a wider variety of projects.
“Eligible categories now include public transit, local roads, bridges, waste water, solid waste, community energy infrastructure, capacity-building initiatives, highways, local and regional airports, short line rail, short sea shipping, disaster mitigation, broadband connectivity, brownfield redevelopment,” Leef said, “as well as culture, tourism, sport and recreation infrastructure.”
About 130 projects have happened in the Yukon thanks to gas tax money, Cathers said.
Whitehorse used a portion of its gas tax money to buy transit buses. The Village of Carmacks, Teslin Tlingit Council, and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation purchased multi-passenger vans.
“Recycling facilities have been built in Teslin and Mayo and composing and solid waste facilities in Dawson City, Whitehorse and Teslin as a direct result of gas tax funding,” Cathers said.
“Gas tax funds have also helped the Selkirk First Nation provide clean drinking water to their citizens with the installation of new water pipes. The City of Whitehorse has replaced the Selkirk water pumphouse and constructed the two mile pumphouse using gas tax funds.”
Faro has reconstructed part of its sewage lagoon, Whitehorse has repaired and replaced sewer mains, Cathers said before rhyming off a stream of other projects.
“In all of these areas the gas tax funding is helping the Yukon government, Yukon First Nations and Yukon municipalities address core infrastructure priorities at both the territorial and local level, creating jobs that contribute to Yukon’s economic development and the continued health of communities.”
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