Investing in Ontario's Infrastructure to Deliver Real, Positive Change

Archived Release

Investing in Ontario's Infrastructure to Deliver Real, Positive Change

Ministry of Infrastructure

Discussion Paper Focuses on Ontarians' Priorities QUEEN'S PARK, ON, Feb. 27 - The McGuinty government is delivering real, positive change by taking action to improve the Province's aging infrastructure, Public Infrastructure Renewal Minister David Caplan announced today. "Improving our infrastructure is crucial to delivering results in the priorities we share with Ontarians: success for students, a healthier Ontario, a strong and prosperous economy, and safe, clean, livable communities," Caplan said. "Waiting lists in hospitals, run down schools, and congestion and gridlock on our roads are the visible signs of the years of neglect and poor planning that have allowed Ontario's public infrastructure to decline. Today marks a significant step forward." Caplan released a discussion paper entitled Building a Better Tomorrow: Investing in Ontario's Infrastructure to Deliver Real, Positive Change. The paper outlines options for the selection of the most appropriate financing and procurement models for public infrastructure. The paper, along with discussions with people across the Province, will contribute to the development of a new plan to revitalize public infrastructure in priority areas, including hospitals, schools, drinking water systems, public transit, and roads. "The job of building safer, cleaner and more livable communities across Ontario is long overdue and it can't be completed overnight," Caplan added. "It will require a long-range plan in partnership with the federal and municipal governments. But I am confident that, working together, we can succeed." Outreach sessions are planned in communities across Ontario. They are designed to engage the public and stakeholders such as municipalities, hospitals, transit operators, post-secondary institutions, school boards and related associations and agencies. For more information about the outreach sessions or to obtain a copy of the paper, visit www.pir.gov.on.ca or call 1-800-239-4224. The public may comment on the discussion paper by: - e-mail to discussion.paper@pir.gov.on.ca - regular mail to Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, IFP Division, 6th floor, Frost Building South, 7 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto Ontario M7A 1Y7, or - fax to 416-325-4920. Disponible en fran├žais. Check it out at www.pir.gov.on.ca. Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal February 27, 2004 Investing in Ontario's Infrastructure to Deliver Real, Positive Change Discussion Paper Infrastructure Deficit Ontario faces a public infrastructure deficit that is due to years of poor planning and under-investment. Infrastructure deficits (deterioration of facilities and lack of sufficient capacity) are prevalent in a number of sectors to a varying degree, and most significantly in health, education, water, sewage, and transit. Too many of Ontario's roads, hospitals, schools, drinking water and public transit systems have been neglected and are in need of renewal and repair. There is a need for a combination of investment and strategic policy reform in a number of sectors, to develop new infrastructure (more than 10 per cent) and maintain existing assets in a state of good repair (more than 80 per cent). All of these investments must be made in a way that is transparent, efficient and that offers better value for taxpayers' money. Losing Our Competitive Advantage Crumbling infrastructure is having a direct impact on our economy, our public services and our ability to deliver the improved core public services to which the McGuinty government is committed. For example, the Toronto Board of Trade estimates that traffic congestion costs Toronto more than $2 billion a year in wasted time and lost opportunity. To compete and win in a competitive global economy, our infrastructure must be an asset that gives us an advantage over other places to live and do business. Gridlock and other examples of poor infrastructure planning and neglect cannot be allowed to choke off our growth. Our Infrastructure Challenge There is a critical connection between the public services that people demand, and public infrastructure. Ontarians need and deserve the best from their schools, hospitals and water treatment facilities. Ontario has a large and complex system of infrastructure with a replacement value of over $240 billion. In order to tackle our infrastructure deficit, it is essential that we plan to accommodate growth. Pressures will continue to mount on public infrastructure as Ontario's population grows. During the next two decades, Ontario's population is forecast to grow by 40 per cent, with the majority of that growth occurring in the central part of the province. These people will all need schools, hospitals, roads, and water and sewer services. The TD Bank estimates that these public services will necessitate $55 billion in new capital infrastructure. Positive Change for the Future The McGuinty government is developing a plan to revitalize public infrastructure and to focus on achieving results in priority areas like hospitals, schools, drinking water systems, public transit and roads. The government's discussion paper, Investing in Ontario's Infrastructure to Deliver Real, Positive Change, will help to define the government's infrastructure plan and the process of selecting the best financing and procurement options for rebuilding Ontario's public services. A range of models is available to procure and finance public infrastructure projects. Choosing models cannot be indiscriminate. All models chosen will be examined and evaluated in the context of fundamental principles that protect and promote public interest, so that we can achieve results in priority areas like hospitals, schools, drinking water, public transit and roads. Additional steps in the overall public infrastructure plan include: - discussions with transfer partners and stakeholders on issues such as capital needs and infrastructure project evaluation; - an inventory by sector of capital assets and management practices; - a 10-year forecast of capital asset management priorities for all Ontario capital ministries; and, - an agreement on the roles and responsibilities of all partners in public infrastructure. Strong Public Health Care Critical public infrastructure such as hospitals, make communities healthier and stronger. The Ontario government believes that it is important to state from the outset where it stands on protecting and promoting public interest when it comes to the financing and procurement of hospitals. The McGuinty government will ensure that hospitals remain publicly controlled, publicly owned and publicly accountable.For further information: Ross Parry, Minister's Office, (416) 325-1657; D.J. Paquet, Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, (416) 325-1697