Canadian Consulting Engineer

Budget 2009 Delivers On Infrastructure Investment

On January 27, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented the 2009 federal Budget and economic stimulus package. Immediately before the Budget, there was a great deal of speculation that infrastructure i...

March 1, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

On January 27, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented the 2009 federal Budget and economic stimulus package. Immediately before the Budget, there was a great deal of speculation that infrastructure investment would form the backbone of the stimulus package –on that note, the Budget did not disappoint. The Budget announced that over $12 billion in direct federal investments will be made in a wide range of infrastructure projects over the next two years. Once additional funds are leveraged from other orders of governments, that figure is expected to climb to well over $20 billion. An additional $2 billion will also be made available for social housing. It is important to note that these amounts are over and above federal programs announced in previous Budgets, such as the Gas Tax Transfer Fund, the Building Canada Fund, and the Public-Private Partnership Fund.

Following the release of the Budget, Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird confirmed that the bulk of the $12 billion in new federal funds will go to projects that are “shovel ready,” with priority given to projects that can be completed within two years.

ACEC was invited to appear before the House of Commons Finance Committee on February 12 to give its take on the infrastructure measures contained in the Budget. ACEC applauded the measures, and assured Members of Parliament that with the recent economic downturn, ACEC members had stated quite clearly that they had the capacity necessary to conduct the forthcoming work. In addition, ACEC set forth four key principles for implementation of the infrastructure measures, which included:

• In order to provide a true stimulative effect, federally funded infrastructure work must be outsourced to the private sector.

• Professional consultants should be procured using the Qualifications Based Selection approach recommended in the InfraGuide Best Practices document.

• Red tape, overlap, and bureaucratic approval processes should be minimized.

• Strategic infrastructure of long-term benefit to Canadians should be a greater priority than simply expediency.

Minister Baird has agreed to provide ACEC members with a teleconference briefing on the implementation of the infrastructure measures at some point in early spring.

For more information on the Budget, including a list of specific programs and ACEC’s official Budget reaction, visit the website at www.acec.ca.


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