Hamilton is $48 million richer -- Premier Dalton McGuinty announced yesterday the province is giving $1.1 billion in infrastructure funding to municipalities thanks to Ontario's budget surplus.
"It's a lot of bread," said local MPP Ted McMeekin. "It is huge."
Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who was surprised by the size of Hamilton's share, said he wants to target the backlog of work required in road, sewer and water infrastructure.
"It's a one-time opportunity to do some catch-up," he said. "It's a good stop-gap measure."
In roads alone, the city has a $40 million to $50 million annual shortfall in its capital budget. It's behind another $30 million in renovations to city facilities.
The city can use the funding for any capital project. A government spokesperson said there's no deadline, but the province is urging that the funding be spent quickly.
Gerry Davis, director of capital planning and implementation, expects Hamilton could expend the funding envelope within two years.
"It's definitely a great gift. It will help tremendously ... right across the city we can accomplish things."
This fall, Davis said he'll report to council on the best way to use the funding. He expects to move up projects planned down the road in the city's capital plan.