Canadian Manufacturing

Ontario’s $130B investment a start, but province must focus on innovative infrastructure, report says

Planning for future needs pays dividends, organization says



TORONTO—Ontario’s infrastructure outlook received a significant boost from the Wynne government’s 10-year, $130 billion budget pledge, yet simply dedicating the money to projects is not necessarily enough, the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario says.

The province must make the right infrastructure investments, planning for the long term and investing in innovative solutions that will not only be practical today, but pivotal in the future, a new report from the organization says.

“Today’s infrastructure seems expensive, but yesterday’s infrastructure seems like a prudent investment,” the report’s author Michael Fenn, said.

“When the first Bloor-Danforth subway ran in 1966, it saved money and construction time using infrastructure built under the Bloor Viaduct in 1918 for a subway that didn’t exist and wasn’t planned,” he noted.

With a desperate need to expand its current infrastructure, the report argues the province needs to focusing on building forward-thinking public works such as the the Bloor Viaduct that can contribute to the province in unforeseen ways in the future. It also pointed to the use of innovative financial instruments and tax policies as well as more collaborative and integrated decision-making mechanisms at all levels of government as key parts of a successful strategy.

“In a constrained fiscal environment, it is paramount that we build the right infrastructure,” RCCAO executive director, Andy Manahan, said. “Good infrastructure decisions pay dividends for generations.”

The RCCAO added this can only be accomplished with a “clear-sighted economic development strategy and high-priority, focused, fact-based decision-making from our government in partnership with industry.”

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