Mayors pitch transit to win dollars in Liberals' green-themed budget

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The mayors of Canada's biggest cities are asking the federal government to immediately fund initiatives to address climate change, and years down the road for transit projects, in hopes of securing dollars in this year's budget.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who is meeting with the mayors this afternoon, has billed the budget as one with an environmental focus.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, who chairs the big city mayors' caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, says that's why the mayors are prioritizing budget requests that fit that environmental lens.

He and other mayors say they have heard broad support for their budget priorities, which also reflect promises the Liberals made during the recent federal election campaign.

The mayors are asking for help to fund zero-emission transit fleets and a top-up to the depleted disaster mitigation and adaptation fund that helps municipalities deal with severe flooding, for example.

In meetings with other architects of this year's budget, the mayors say they have come away with a belief that the Liberals will follow through on a campaign promise to make transit funding permanent when current funding deals run out near the end of the decade.