The City of Calgary wants to borrow $168 million from the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to buy 259 zero emission electric buses.
A Corporate Planning and Financial Services report to Calgary’s executive committee on October 18 recommended the city give first reading to Bylaw 8B2022 which would authorize city to “incur indebtedness” with the CIB for a “non-revolving, amortizing term credit facility” to purchase the vehicles.
“The proposed Bylaw 8B2022 authorizes The City to incur indebtedness of up to $168 million, a condition of The City signing definitive agreements with the Canada Infrastructure Bank,” the report says.
“The Canada Infrastructure Bank provides The City with a flexible source of long-term financing at below-market interest rates to facilitate investments in transit and infrastructure to help accomplish The City’s climate goals.”
The program would pursue funding with the “potential” of $223 million in grants plus $168 through the CIB.
The report claims the program would provide citizens the opportunity to access cleaner commutes and improve the quality of life for Calgarians.
It also says the $168 million loan would promote “fiscal responsibility” by providing the city with “a flexible source of longterm financing at a significantly below-market interest rate.”
The report urges city councillors to move forward quickly to secure “a more desirable interest rate.”
Federal Conservatives have called the CIB a Liberal government corporate welfare scheme, citing the fact that the $35 billion fund has failed to complete a single project since its conception in 2017.
“It has to get serious about economic growth resulting from real people building real things that supply real services to real consumers, not the crony capitalism that has crept into the government in everything from its infrastructure bank to its supercluster system and corporate giveaways,” CPC MP Pat Kelly told the House of Commons on Oct. 6.
Kris Sims, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said Calgary and its taxpayers don’t have the money for the costly proposal.
“There is only one taxpayer, be it municipal, provincial or federal. We are in debt and we can’t be throwing money around like crazy,” Sims told True North.
“The city needs to separate Wants from Needs, just like hardworking families have to do to live within their means.”
The proposal is not yet finalized. If the city moves forward, the executive committee would first consider the implications through a technical and financial report before signing a definitive agreement with the CIB.