Consulting Engineers of Ontario urges Premier to re-evaluate infrastructure funding announcement
TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Public safety is at risk if the Province proceeds with plans to cut infrastructure funding. The Consulting Engineers of Ontario is shocked by Premier McGuinty's announcement yesterday to cancel promised infrastructure funding at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference.
"This marks a shocking, sudden change in direction for this government that brings into question the Premier's commitment to the reduction of the infrastructure deficit in Ontario," said Barry Steinberg, P.Eng., Chief Executive Officer of Consulting Engineers of Ontario. "We understand that he is under significant pressure to reduce the fiscal deficit but this isn't the solution and will ultimately result in higher costs and reduced public safety. The connection between infrastructure investment and public safety is inherently linked and deferred maintenance puts us all at risk."
The Premier noted during his speech Monday in Toronto that he has to, "support our economic advantage - the skills and education of our people - and sacrifice the infrastructure fund."
Upon further discussion with the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation's office today, press secretary David Salter clarified that, "the Premier said that our government won't move ahead this year with the creation of a new fund for municipal roads and bridges. The infrastructure spending announced in the 2011 Budget - $35 billion over three years - doesn't change."
Be this as it may, a promise made in 2011 to municipalities at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference and retracted yesterday brings into question the Premier's commitment to the good work over recent years of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation to reduce the infrastructure deficit.
"We as engineers support the 'skills and education of our people' but if they don't have projects to work on there won't be any jobs and their abilities will be useless," said Steinberg. "We are happy to hear that Building Together won't be affected by this announcement but any cut in infrastructure funding with a provincial deficit of $100 billion, puts our public safety at further risk."
Consulting Engineers of Ontario is a non-profit association representing over 220 engineering firms across Ontario employing over 18,000 people who contribute to its economic, environmental and social quality of life. For more information go to www.ceo.on.ca.
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Kaitlynn Dodge 416-484-1132 ext. 5 [email protected].