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Infrastructure, housing investments among budget highlights for local mayors

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The mayors of Kitchener and Waterloo are weighing in on the federal government’s 2024 budget.

“I think it really is great to see the overall housing theme as well as the affordability theme that the federal government has in today’s budget,” Waterloo mayor Dorothy McCabe told CTV News. “It’s really great to see the federal government fully engaged on this key priority of housing.”

McCabe said they’re excited to see what the city might be in line for, with the announcement to top up the Housing Accelerator Fund with another $400 million.

She also noted the importance of new infrastructure funding.

“Municipalities have been talking to the federal government and the provincial government for years about adjusting our fiscal funding arrangements,” she said. “So I’m hoping that this Canada housing infrastructure fund will be a way for us to really have that conversation and in greater earnest.”

“I would really want to emphasize the investments in housing infrastructure are really critical,” added Kitchener mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

“I think for Kitchener residents overall, there’s a number of things on affordability. Both in terms of helping with housing costs, but also little things like agreements with cell providers, banking fees and so on, that governments in the past have been reluctant to touch, and have waited for these big banks and other companies to come forward – telco companies – to address on their own,” Vrbanovic said.

“That hasn’t happened. And it looks like they’re finally going to tackle those things, which will make a difference in the pocketbooks of Kitchener residents.”

Vrbanovic is also happy to see funding to match provinces on tackling chronic homelessness, as well as new measures that will help Canadians with their mortgage renewals in the near future.

“This is a budget that really strikes a strong balance of meeting the needs of affordability for Canadians while also continuing to invest in municipalities,” added Vrbanovic.

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