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Canada’s 2017 budget gives detail on infra bank proposal

The Canada Infrastructure Bank will invest C$35bn over the next 11 years, focusing on transit, transportation and the electricity grid.

Canada’s 2017 federal budget provided more details about how the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank will be structured, but the question of how large a role private investors will play has yet to be answered.

The C$35 billion ($26.22 billion; €24.32 billion) infrastructure programme will over the next 11 years invest in Canada’s most critical transit, transportation and electricity grid projects using loans, loan guarantees and equity investments, according to the budget plan.

The plan, unveiled to Canada’s House of Commons by the finance minister, Bill Morneau, says that government will soon propose legislation to create the bank and identify its chief executive, chairperson and board members, with the goal of having it operational by the end of this year.

Some funding was already allocated to “large, transformative projects,” including C$5 billion each to public transit, green infrastructure and rail and highway investments.

However, the big question about how much private-sector capital it plans to mobilise has yet to be answered.

Canada has built a reputation among investors as being one of the most open countries to private investment in infrastructure, and the bank was proposed last year as way to invite more private capital to help meet funding news for critical projects.

In his speech to parliament, Morneau connected infrastructure to the North American country’s economic success.

“Budget 2017 is about creating good middle class jobs,” Morneau said. “We put together a plan to ensure that, in a changing world, Canada’s middle class and those working hard to join it can, and will, succeed.”