August 7-14, 2006

Gas tax revenue-sharing agreement will provide $82M for environmental projects in Nfld

ST JOHN'S, NFLD-A four-year funding agreement with the federal government will direct $82.3 million in federal gas tax revenues toward environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure projects in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador. The agreement was signed by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Loyola Hearn and Newfoundland and Labrador Municipal Affairs Minister Jack Byrne, with Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Municipalities (NLFM) president Wayne Ruth acting as witness. The agreement is retroactive to 2005, meaning Newfoundland and Labrador will immediately receive $19.8 in funding from the first two years of the agreement. With this signing, all provinces and territories now have agreements with the federal government in place for sharing of federal gas tax funds with municipalities. Negotiations are currently underway to complete an agreement with First Nations as soon as possible. The full first year allocation has already been received by 11 provinces and territories. Agreements with the provinces and territories all specify that there will be no clawback of funds. This provision has received unanimous support by all jurisdictions. Under an intra-provincial allocation formula, $21.88 million will be provided for the implementation of Newfoundland and Labrador's regional waste management strategy. The remaining funds will be distributed on a per capita basis, with $6.03 million set aside to ensure a base level of funding for the smallest jurisdictions. An oversight committee, representing the provincial and federal governments and the NLFM, will monitor the program and develop new directions and initiatives. The funding agreement requires a municipality to enter into an agreement with the province and submit a capital investment plan before funds are released. Municipalities can carry over gas tax funds to future fiscal years.

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