Wynne Announces New Transportation and Instrastructure Funds
Published on: 15/04/2014
Moving Ontario Forward
On April 14, 2014, Premier Wynne announced $29 billion in funding over the next ten years for "priority" transit and other infrastructure projects across the province. Through its Moving Ontario Forward plan, the government would create two dedicated funds, one for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) with up to $15 billion available for investment in transit and one for the rest of the province with nearly $14 billion available for investment in roads, bridges, transit and other critical infrastructure.
The GTHA fund will be prioritized to support the development of the next set of priority projects included in Metrolinx's regional transportation plan, The Big Move. Initiatives outside the GTHA include infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire, funding for transportation delivered by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, strategic highway improvements, and other projects to be identified through the Building Canada Plan.
Details about how precisely the full breadth of the funding would be raised were not fully revealed, but it was noted that 7.5 cents of the existing Gas Tax would be "repurposed" towards these two provincial funds. These funds would also be supported by the previously announced Trillium Trust and Green Bonds programs, announced back in the Fall 2013.
2014 Progress Report on Transit and Infrastructure
On the heels of the Moving Ontario Forward announcement, the Wynne Government published its 2014 Progress Report on Transit and Infrastructure. The Progress Report looks back over the last ten years to outline what the Liberal Government has achieved from its almost $100 billion in investment in infrastructure since it was first elected in 2003.
The Progress Report breaks down spending levels to the different sectors of provincially-owned infrastructure (transit, road, education, healthcare, public safety, etc.) and details some of the outcomes these investments on key milestone projects. Highlights include:
• $10 billion in funding for the expansion of transit systems in major urban centres, with details on projects such as Union Pearson Express, Metrolinx Transportation Plan, and Bus Rapid Transit in Durham, among others;
• $19 billion for rehab and expansion of the provincial highway and bridge networks, which resulted in the building/rebuilding of more than 7900 kilometers of road and 950 bridges;
• $12 billion for construction projects to improve education facilities at all levels of the education system (elementary and secondary schools, Colleges, and Universities); and,
• $21 billion in health care infrastructure, featuring 23 hospitals built or currently under construction.
Aside from simply putting tangible numbers to what the $100 billion investment over the last decade has achieved, the Progress Report also promotes the benefit of the use of the Alternative Finance and Procurement (AFP) model for infrastructure procurement, noting that the model continues to deliver "...projects in on time and on budget..."
The publication of the 2014 Progress Report on Transit and Infrastructure, coupled with the Moving Ontario Forward announcement, demonstrates a very public pronouncement from the Government about its history on the infrastructure file and its plans moving forward.
The Progress Report is clearly aimed reminding construction stakeholders of the significant investment that the Liberal Party has made into the infrastructure portfolio over the last decade, with its specific details noting how many jobs have been created with some of the higher profile projects that have been invested in. The Moving Ontario Forward announcement then reveals to the same group of stakeholders that the Liberal Party will still continue to focus heavily on the infrastructure file in future years, assuming it continues to occupy the role of governing Party.
All-in-all, both made for very interestingly timed announcements, with Budget 2014 on the horizon and the threat of a provincial election looming.
If you have any questions about the 2014 Progress Report on Transit and Infrastructure or the Moving Ontario Forward announcement, please contact Patrick (Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-629-8819).
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