Federal officials ready for avalanche of infrastructure paper work

(CP) - Provincial governments have been warned that they have until this time next year to start assigning billions in infrastructure cash to eligible projects, or else they could lose control over how it can be spent.

The Liberals are finalizing details about the fate of any money left over in the New Building Canada Fund for large, provincial or nationally important projects after next year's deadline, including following through on a vow to shift unused infrastructure money to the gas tax fund, which allows cities to spend on roads, highways, transit, water and sewer systems without having to apply for federal funding.

The Liberals have already moved about $30 million in idle infrastructure money into the gas tax fund after provinces and territories couldn't allocate all $837 million from four separate funds before last March.

Infrastructure Canada's website says the New Building Canada Fund's national and regional project stream still has $6.6 billion of an original $8.8 billion in funding that has yet to be allocated.

The deadline for provinces and territories to prioritize projects for funding is April 1, 2018.

The timing is part of the Liberal government's push to spend as much infrastructure money as it can to boost the economy through construction jobs and help its political fortunes if work is underway or completed just in time for the next election in 2019.