Federal Commitment to Infrastructure a Positive Step for Canada and Ontario



    Infrastructure Investment Coalition supports Stéphane Dion's pledge to
    spend surplus dollars on infrastructure

    TORONTO, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - The Infrastructure Investment Coalition (IIC)
believes Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's federal policy announcement to invest
any unanticipated surplus (exceeding a $3-billion contingency) fund in roads,
bridges, sewers and other infrastructure is one of the positive steps needed
to ensure economic success, not only for Ontario but for Canada as a whole.
    The Coalition believes it is imperative that politicians from all three
levels of government work together and embrace innovative funding mechanisms
to resolve current service and infrastructure deficits.
    "Ultimately, an investment from the federal level is important, and it is
certainly one of a number of mechanisms to address the infrastructure crisis,"
says Andy Manahan, Executive Director of the Residential and Civil
Construction Alliance of Ontario and representative of IIC. "The Coalition
welcomes this pledge, and it is yet another reinforcement of the need for
everyone in this country to focus on infrastructure."
    Business, governments and their constituents are increasingly becoming
aware that there is a significant infrastructure deficit, revealed daily
through problems like overcrowded highways and excessive commuter times,
outdated transit vehicles, sinkholes due to water leaks, bridge collapses and
inadequate sewage capacity in many areas.
    While the IIC supports Dion's recent announcement, it is just one of the
number of methods needed to address infrastructure funding. The Coalition
supports the view that Canadians should follow the example set by some
countries and charge drivers road tolls or congestion fees to pay for
necessary highway upgrades and improved public transit.
    "Metering and full cost pricing is required to properly pay for water and
sewer services," adds Frank Zechner of Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain
Contractors Association (GTSWCA). Charging the actual users makes the most
sense, and people who benefit from services should help pay a little more for
their construction, maintenance and repair.
    Not only are sources of funding a concern but policy issues and red tape
delays are complicating vital repairs and driving the total costs upward.
Approvals and permits required for infrastructure projects are unnecessarily
complicated and key decisions and policies are bogged down by the multiplicity
of ministries and government agencies. The IIC also recommends a number of
suggestions to address infrastructure issues, including better asset
management, dedicated funding, financing alternatives, streamlining and
expediting approval processes and increasing government focus on "core"
infrastructure.
    The lack of new infrastructure and maintenance of the existing capacity
is impeding the growth and economic development of our communities - not only
in Ontario but throughout the country.

    ABOUT IIC:

    The IIC is comprised of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance
of Ontario (RCCAO), Labourers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)
Local 183, Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association
(GTSWCA) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). As
the state of infrastructure has become a critical factor in determining
Ontario's future economic success and relative standard of living, we felt it
was imperative that we work together as a coalition to raise awareness of the
core infrastructure needs of roads, water, sewers, and transit in every
community in Ontario. For more information on the coalition, please visit
http://www.infracoalition.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Dorenda McNeil, Counsel Public Relations, Tel:
(416) 961-5898 x 215, dmcneil@counselpr.ca

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INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT COALITION

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