Ontario's Recommendations for the Federal Long-Term Infrastructure Plan
Ontario's submission to the federal Long-Term Infrastructure Plan includes:
National Transit Strategy
Canada is one of the only countries in the developed world without a national public transit strategy. Since 2003, Ontario has invested over $13 billion in public transit across the province and is now calling on the federal government to come to the table and develop a national public transit strategy.
Reducing the number of cars on roads and highways during rush hour will reduce commute times dramatically. According to a 2011 Toronto Board of Trade report, round trip work commutes in Toronto take an average of 80 minutes, which is the longest commute time out of 21 major global cities -- longer than London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles. Metrolinx reports that congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is estimated to cost commuters and the economy $6 billion each year.
Investment in public transit also helps create jobs and strengthen the economy. Manufacturing transit vehicles and operating transit systems support jobs. According to the federal government, Canada's transit systems employ 50,000 workers and support 25,000 more jobs in other sectors. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that each dollar of real capital investment in The Big Move, Metrolinx's transit plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, would boost Ontario's gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.19 for each dollar spent.
Other Long-term Infrastructure Recommendations
Ontario is making five key recommendations to the federal government to assist in the development of a long-term infrastructure plan:
- Invest in key economic infrastructure
In this time of fiscal restraint, federal investments should focus on core economic infrastructure such as highways, roads and bridges, public transit, border crossings and gateways, and water and wastewater systems. These assets make Canada more competitive.
- Increase overall federal investment
Provinces, territories and municipalities across Canada need more federal investment to boost productivity and competitiveness. As Canada's most populous province with the largest economy, investing in Ontario's infrastructure must be a priority to support a strong national economy.
- Asset management planning
The federal government should make investment decisions based on objective, high-quality information about assets. To do this, asset management information should be incorporated into funding requests made to federal infrastructure programs. The federal government should also assist communities that need help to develop their asset management capacity.
- Private sector innovation
The federal government should leverage private-sector expertise through the use of the alternative financing and procurement project delivery model when appropriate. This approach spreads risk on large construction projects across public and private sector partners. The federal government should help communities use this model to get the most out of their investments.
- Streamline administration
The federal government should improve the program rules and processes which provinces and municipalities have to follow to receive federal funding, focusing on reviewing outcomes and performance measures. Valuable projects that are already underway across provinces and territories should be eligible for federal funding.