News / London

Capital region infrastructure safe from cuts

Yesterday's provincial budget announced freezes to public-sector wages and social assistance and a plan to eliminate the deficit in five years, but Mayor Jim Watson was watching for two things.

He wanted confirmation Ottawa infrastructure programs such as light rail and Highway 417 improvements would go ahead, and that Ontario would keep uploading social-service costs from the city as scheduled, he said. He got both.

"We were all understanding that it was going to be a rather austere budget and the province has a financial challenge just as the federal government does, and they have to get their house in order," he said.

In Thursday's federal budget, Watson's attention will be focused on the size of government job cuts.

"We have about a third of all public servants in the country located in Ottawa, so it's a very important part of our economy and our community," he said.

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