Engineers applaud province's investment in infrastructure



    TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - The voice of Ontario's 68,000 professional
engineers applauded the announcement of continued funding for infrastructure
in Thursday's provincial budget. Ontario's 2007 budget pledges $5.9 billion in
infrastructure investments in 2007-08 for transit, highways, hospitals,
schools, colleges, universities and rural infrastructure.
    "We asked the provincial government to honour their infrastructure
funding commitments, and they have," said Daniel J. Young, P.Eng., President
and Chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). During
pre-budget consultations, OSPE strongly encouraged the Provincial Government
to fulfill its funding commitments through ongoing infrastructure investment.
    "The government has told Ontarians that infrastructure is its top
priority. We are at a critical time as our transit, highways, hospitals,
schools, sewage and water systems are in need of desperate updating and
repair. It is vital for all Ontarians that the government has made this
commitment to ensure that the security of these essential services is not
compromised," said Mr. Young.
    OSPE recommends that the government streamline their approval process
with various government agencies to ensure that they can act quickly to
implement its infrastructure projects and appoint an infrastructure ombudsman
or task force to work with stakeholders to resolve issues or roadblocks that
may arise as a result of the increased infrastructure development. By
fast-tracking the approval process and proactively addressing issues that
arise, the government will reduce costs incurred by delays to projects.
    In terms of modernizing government operations, OSPE was disappointed that
no mention was made of alternative government procurement options, such as
qualifications-based selection a process adopted by many US states. "We
continue to wonder why the provincial government is averse to saving taxpayer
dollars," said Mr. Young, who explained that basing contract awards on
qualifications, rather than price, has been demonstrated to result in lower
contract administration costs, faster project completion, and more efficient
use of resources, specifically higher government productivity and lower
operating costs.
    OSPE appreciates the Liberal Government's understanding of the critical
need for infrastructure spending. Ontario's engineers offer their extensive
expertise and training, along with their duty to protect the public welfare to
the government as they work to implement their infrastructure initiatives so
that Ontario taxpayers receive the best value for their money.

    The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is the voice of the
engineering profession in Ontario. For more information about OSPE, please
visit www.ospe.on.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Sonya Agnew, MBA, Director, Marketing and
Membership, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, (416) 223-9961, ext.
224, sagnew@ospe.on.ca

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Ontario Society of Professional Engineers

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ONTARIO BUDGET 2007

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