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Snippets from the Ontario budget

On May 18, the Ontario Liberals delivered their first budget for the province. As expected, Finance Minister Greg...


On May 18, the Ontario Liberals delivered their first budget for the province. As expected, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara spoke about the deficit they had inherited and about the problems the province faces with overcrowded classroosms, crumbling schools, and a “steady decline in Ontario’s physical infrastructure.”
Following are some highlights from the document that seem likely to result in construction or that will otherwise affect the future business of consulting engineers.

Health care
$406 million to be spent on long-term care facilities, growing to $546 million by 2007-2008.
Also, 3,760 new long-term care beds

Transit
Starting in October, the goverment will be devoting 2 cents of the provincial gas tax to public transit. (The governments of Canada, Ontario and City of Toronto recently announced an agreement to invest more than $1 billion in transit over the next five years, including an environmental assessment for a possible new subway line to York University.)

Will introduce legislation to create a Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.
$600 million in support of Ottawa’s O-Train.
Plans for a light rapid transit project for the Region of Waterloo, with the federal government.

Infrastructure
David Caplan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal to develop a 10-year infrastructure plan.
$3.3 billion to be spent this year on infrastructure improvements.
$1 billion to be spent this year on roads.
$400 million to be spent on source-to-tap drinking water initiatives.

Electricity
In June, the Minister of Energy, Dwight Duncan, will introduce legislation to reform the electricity sector.
It will include
– a combination of regulated and competitive markets
– an aggressive conservation strategy
– action to meet the critical need for new supply
– creation of an indpeendent Ontario Power Authority to ensure long-term supply.

Agriculture
$20 million over next two years for farmers to implement the nutrient management initiative.

The full Budget document is at www.ontariobudget.fin.gov.on.ca