Builders Welcome Balanced Budget

    Infrastructure Investments Support Prosperity

    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Ontario Home Builders' Association President
Mark Basciano supports the infrastructure investments announced in the
2008 Ontario Budget. The OHBA congratulates the province on balancing the
budget and believes that planned future reserves bode well for economic
stability in the province.
    "The provincial plan to allocate a portion of future surpluses towards
infrastructure is a very positive initiative," Basciano said. "However, the
economy is clearly slowing and it is time to ensure a healthy and active
housing market. The province must resist call for increased levels of
regulation in the building code with mandatory residential sprinklers or for
calls to expand the greenbelt. This is the right time to do everything
possible to ensure housing affordability for all Ontarians."
    The province expects 3.7 million new residents in the Greater Golden
Horseshoe over the next 30 years. The province should move forward in an
expedient manner to expand infrastructure systems and transportation capacity
as well as starting construction on the top priorities set out by Metrolinx.
    "Infrastructure expansion is the key long-term investment all governments
need to make to ensure sustainable prosperity for all Ontarians. We must
continue to invest today to meet the challenges of tomorrow," said Basciano
who added, "Metrolinx has released a number of discussion papers that point us
in the right direction. The government must now move beyond the planning
stages and start construction on all of Metrolinx's recommended 'Quick-Win'
projects. It is important for the government to support job creation and
mobility throughout Ontario by expanding hard infrastructure."
    Ontario home builders are very concerned about the slowing economy and
the potential fallout of job losses and declining housing affordability.
Basciano noted, "home builders would have liked to have seen more relief for
the manufacturing sector in this budget. New housing construction activity has
declined sharply in areas such as Windsor and Oshawa that rely heavily on
    The residential construction industry is supportive of the planned
$100 million contribution to municipalities to repair 4,000 existing social
housing apartments and the offer of $500 million in loans to repair additional
units. "We endorse the investment to fix-up aging social housing units that
are in many cases literally falling apart, it's the right thing to do and I'm
pleased that the government will use a portion of these funds to improve
energy efficiency."

    The residential construction industry in Ontario contributes more than
$30 billion dollars to the provincial economy and employs over 300,000 people.

    OHBA is the voice of the residential construction industry in Ontario
representing 4,200 member companies organized in a network of 29 local
associations across the province

For further information:

For further information: Mike Collins-Williams at 1-800-387-0109

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