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Infrastructure bank may avoid projects with too much financial risk

Liberals see the bank as a way to use public dollars to leverage private funding for expensive infrastructure projects.

May 18, 2017   by CP Staff

OTTAWA — Canada’s infrastructure minister says the government’s new agency for financing construction projects might steer clear of proposals that pose too great a financial risk for taxpayers.

Amarjeet Sohi says the key test for the so-called infrastructure bank, which will combine public and private funding for projects, will be whether it is financially viable in the long run.

He says the government will be taking on financial risk regardless of what projects go ahead, but only on its portion of the funding, not the entire cost of the project.

Sohi makes the comments in a wide-ranging roundtable interview with The Canadian Press as his government parries opposition questions about its plans for the agency.

The Liberals see the bank as a way to use public dollars to leverage private funding for projects that are either too expensive or too risky for Ottawa or the private sector to go it alone.

The government plans to fund the bank with $15 billion in cash and a further $20 billion in financing, with officials saying the costs would be defrayed through project user fees or other revenue streams.


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