Economic woes lead to dollars for infrastructure
November 17, 2008
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
In November, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies cheere...
In November, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies cheered promises by the federal government and provinces to accelerate infrastructure spending as a remedy for the country’s ailing economy and threat of recession.
At the First Ministers’ meeting in Ottawa on November 10, the provinces and Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to push for quicker action on the construction front as a means of stimulating job creation.
A recent study released by the Canadian municipalities shows that $1 billion dollars spent infrastructure, “would produce more jobs and a greater economic stimulus than a combined $2-billion tax reduction.” Adding to the fervour to use infrastructure spending as an economic stimulus is the knowledge that the country’s bridges, roads, sewage and water pipes are in bad shape and need the investment.
The FCM says that hundreds of municipal infrastructure projects are ready to go and can be financed using $3 billion in unspent funds sitting in the federal Building Canada Fund.
Jeff Morrison, president of ACEC, said: “Infrastructure spending will not only provide an economic boost and create jobs, but enhanced infrastructure is key to improving quality of life, protecting public safety, increasing economic competitiveness, and reducing our environmental footprint. We urge the fedearl government to follow through on these recommendations by immediately accelerating planned infrastructure spending, and by adding significant new funds to existing infrastructure programs.”
Plans for expanding transit in several Canadian cities are ready to go. In Ottawa, for example, the same day as the First Ministers met, city council approved $1.7 billion transit plans that include a 12-kilometre light rail line east-west across the city, with a tunnel under a section of downtown.