SUDBURY -- Road work will soon get underway in Markstay thanks to a major funding announcement Tuesday afternoon in Markstay-Warren.

The federal government announced Markstay-Warren is one of eight communities that will be benefitting from its rural economic development program.

Municipalities in the province have traditionally had to deal with the one-third formula in which it had to put up one-third of the infrastructure bill and the province and the federal government would also pay for a third.

It would become a problem when many of the larger municipalities with smaller tax bases, like Markstay-Warren, couldn't afford to pay their share. Markstay-Warren is the geographical size of Toronto with a population of 2,700.

The issue left several communities with infrastructure deficits.

The Canadian government is now paying 60 per cent of their project, the provincial government will pay the usual 33 per cent, leaving Markstay-Warren to come up with only roughly six per cent of the bill.

The municipality plans to use the money to repair culverts and improve drainage on roughly 5.5 kilometres of road.

"This is very important to northern and smaller municipalities, we're going to get a lot of work done with it," said Mayor Steve Salonin. "The entire region benefits from this because with a 5.5-kilometre project, we're going to be providing jobs."

While just a small portion of what's needed, Salonin said the work will provide a significant boost to the area's infrastructure.

"Our ratepayers cannot afford to do the cost of improvements," he said. "If it wasn't for the federal government and the provincial government, we wouldn't be able to improve our community to (that) level."

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre joined Salonin for the news conference over Zoom from the Markstay-Warren Town Hall.

"It's important to continue working together with the municipalities and the province to serve the needs of rural municipalities," Serre said. "The smaller municipalities need more help than ever, especially with this pandemic, when you're looking at the whole economy, the slow down, infrastructure dollars is priority No. 1."

Serre said the work doesn't stop here and more municipalities in the area that need help. After infrastructure is addressed, he said they need to address the lack of high-speed internet service across northern Ontario.

Other communities to benefit from the announcement include Carling, Chamberlain, Pembroke, Wasauksing First Nation - Parry Island, Georgian Bay, Bonnecherre Valley and Larder Lake.