Building More Infrastructure than Ever Before in Ontario's History
Infrastructure remains at the core of Ontario's economic plan and is a central way in which the government is helping people with their everyday lives. After decades of underinvestment by all orders of government, Ontario's transit systems, roads and bridges, hospitals and schools, and water infrastructure fell into disrepair. Public infrastructure hadn't kept up with yesterday's growth and was not supporting tomorrow's growth.
Over the last two years, all of that has changed. Ontario has emerged as a national leader with historic levels of infrastructure investment. Starting in 2014-15, Ontario is building a record number of new roads, transit projects, hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure totalling $160 billion over 12 years. This represents the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history.
Ontario's infrastructure investments are grounded in a strong policy framework. In June 2015, the legislature passed the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015. The act helps align infrastructure investments with Ontario's economic development, growth and climate change priorities. It mandates long-term planning, while strengthening the province's competitive edge globally. It also requires that the province publish long term infrastructure plans, which will describe Ontario's infrastructure portfolio, outline anticipated needs and propose strategies to meet these needs.
The case for these investments could not be stronger. The economic benefits of strategic infrastructure investments are considerable. Ontario's $160 billion infrastructure investment is supporting over 110,000 jobs, on average, each year.
And every $1.00 spent on public infrastructure has been shown to increase GDP by $1.43 in the short term and by up to $3.83 in the long term.
These immediate economic impacts are only part of the story. Smart investments in transit and transportation infrastructure materially increase productivity across Ontario's economy. These projects mean less congestion on roads and less time spent in traffic or in transit. People and goods get around faster and cheaper. This makes Ontario a more attractive jurisdiction for job-creating international investment and helps attract top talent from around the globe.
Ontario's infrastructure investments are also helping people with their everyday lives. New hospitals are being built and existing ones are being renovated. Schools are being built and repaired around the province to ensure kids get the best start in life. And new transportation infrastructure in every corner of the province is helping people get around both faster and safer.
Selected infrastructure highlights since 2013 include:
- More than $3.7 billion for repairs at thousands of public schools across Ontario
- Investments for 128 new schools and 136 with major renovations or additions
- The province has built or repaired 435 bridges and over 2,700 kilometres of highways -- this is almost the equivalent distance from Ottawa to Thunder Bay and back again
- Metrolinx has built three new GO stations, renovated 10 existing GO stations, added a total of 6,000 new parking spots and purchased 220 new GO buses, 69 new GO train coaches and 10 new GO train locomotives
- Seven new or completely rebuilt hospitals have been completed:
- Cornwall Community Hospital (Cornwall)
- Halton Healthcare Services Corporation (Oakville)
- Humber River Regional Hospital (Toronto)
- Parkwood / St. Thomas Mental Health (London - St. Joseph's Health Care)
- St. Joseph's Healthcare (Hamilton)
- Women's College Hospital (Toronto)
- Bridgepoint Health (Toronto)
- Approximately 1,200 new long-term care beds and approximately 800 more hospital beds
- The creation of the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund to provide small, rural and northern communities with stable, predictable and annual funding for roads, bridges and water infrastructure
- An additional 56,000 licensed child care spaces across Ontario
Selected infrastructure highlights of the next five years include:
- Building or repairing 5,000 kilometres of highways
- Building or repairing more than 750 bridges
- Completing the rebuilds or major renovations at 18 hospitals across Ontario and getting underway with major hospital renovations at approximately 20 hospitals across Ontario
- Increasing funding for 135 hospitals to make repairs that improve patient experiences
- Increasing the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund from $100 million per year to $300 million per year by 2018-19
- Continuing to build and fund more than 350 kilometres of new rapid transit in urban areas across Ontario
- Transforming the GO system with Regional Express Rail by electrifying core segments, adding stops and increasing service levels from approximately 1,500 weekly trips today to nearly 6,000 weekly trips by 2025
Additionally, Ontario is pleased to now have a collaborative federal partner on infrastructure investments. Following Ontario's lead, the federal government has launched two phases of new programs to spur infrastructure investment and economic development: the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF).
The province recently reached a bilateral agreement with the federal government on the PTIF. With this agreement, Ontario will deliver almost $1.5 billion in federal funding for public transit in the province. In total, more than $2.97 billion in combined federal and municipal funding will be invested to further reduce commute times and make public transit more comfortable, efficient and accessible.
With the launch of an intake for the federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund expected in the very near future, communities all across Ontario will soon experience the benefits of a real federal partner on infrastructure.