TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - While some attention was paid to transportation
and infrastructure in the 2007 Provincial Budget, many priority areas were
overlooked, leaving municipalities with considerable funding gaps. "With the
Province projecting budget surpluses in excess of $1.5 billion, there is
certainly room for the Province to make a better commitment to helping
municipalities meet their infrastructure needs. Ontario Good Roads Association
is extremely disappointed," said OGRA President, Jim Harrison.
The most significant announcement is the doubling of the Rural
Infrastructure Investment Initiative with an additional $70 million. This fund
is intended to help rural and small municipalities provide safe and reliable
local infrastructure, including water and wastewater system upgrades.
The Connecting Link program is receiving a one-time investment of
$25 million that municipalities may use for municipal roads across the
The Provincial Government will continue to provide municipalities with
two cents per litre of the provincial gas tax for public transit. Municipal
roads did not receive a similar commitment.
Provincial highways and bridges, in both northern and southern Ontario
will be repaired and expanded through the ReNew Ontario plan.
The Budget does contain a commitment to move ahead with the
Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review and a report will be
released in the spring of 2008.
Missing from the Ontario Budget was any commitment to additional Move
Ontario funding that was welcomed as part of last year's budget. "OGRA had
strongly recommended that the $400 million unconditional roads funding that
was allocated last year become an annual program as a first step toward
sustainable infrastructure funding," said Harrison. "Municipalities put this
road and bridge funding to good use. It is unfortunate that municipalities
cannot count on continued support."
The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) represents the infrastructure
interests of municipalities through advocacy, consultation, training and the
delivery of identified services. OGRA currently serves 416 municipal members,
21 First Nations communities, and 240 corporate members.
For further information:
For further information: Jayne Patterson, Ontario Good Roads
Association, (905) 795-2555, firstname.lastname@example.org