Monday January 18, 2016
Competition fierce for a slice of the infrastructure budget to fund projects
"At a time when interest rates are as low as they can mathematically be, at a time when construction costs are coming down from the overheated levels, at a time when people are out of work, the single smartest thing we can do is invest in the stuff we need to build anyway." - Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on infrastructure spending
Last week, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi spoke to The Current on the kind of infrastructure spending he'd like to see from the federal government.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals have committed $124 billion over the next 10 years on infrastructure.
And since last fall's election, the PM and his ministers have been fanning out across the country, talking up those plans.
"One of the things that we campaigned on was recognizing that Canada needs more jobs and greater growth. That's what we put forward as a plan to invest in infrastructure, specifically through transit, through green infrastructure, through social infrastructure." - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Toronto with mayor John Tory, last week
Toronto and plenty of other jurisdictions across the country are ready to move.
And, with Parliament set to reconvene on Jan. 25, there's going to be a lot of pressure on the government to get specific about where those promised infrastructure billions will be going.
"This is not just about building new. What do we do with the existing infrastructure? How do we repair what we have? How do we optimize and modernize the infrastructure that exists now?" - Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi
It's difficult to quantify just what the infrastructure deficit is in Canada, with figures ranging from $127 billion to more than $500 billion.
Matti Siemiatycki is an associate professor of geography and planning at the University of Toronto. His main area of research is infrastructure spending and this week he is publishing a paper about cost overruns on infrastructure projects.
We requested an interview with the Minister of Infrastructure Amarjeet Sohi but he deferred the invitation until after the budget is released.
What kinds of projects would you like to see funded under the infrastructure budget? Let us know how the project you recommend would benefit your community.
This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.