OAKVILLE, ON, Dec. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - The release of the Government of Ontario's Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel's final report provides a welcomed opportunity to renew the discussion about how Ontario and its 444 municipalities intend to finance the renewal and expansion of Ontario's civic infrastructure and transit systems.
The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) agrees with the findings of the report, most of which seem matters of fact. However, OGRA is disappointed that the province continues to limit its consideration of revenue tools to provincially-managed options for transit. The need for investment in transit is beyond question. This reality places transit on the same footing as roads and bridges, water mains, waste water, and social housing; all of which are core asset classes that suffer from chronic under investment.
Since 2011, OGRA has maintained that the appropriate response to addressing our infrastructure deficit and expanding transit opportunities is for the province to amend the Municipal Act so that municipalities are given the opportunity to implement revenue tools where they are determined to be warranted locally. The support was contingent on the following objectives:
- Revenue derived from this new authority must be dedicated back into infrastructure investments;
- Transparency must govern the collection and distribution of revenue; and
- The cost must be distributed and the funding allocated fairly.
Municipal government is the order of government that best understands and reflects local needs. As such, it is reasonable to expect that affording municipalities the opportunity to implement revenue tools would also ensure more effective responses to local issues.
The economic imperative for making investments in civic infrastructure is compelling. The quality of municipal infrastructure is often a key determinant to attracting investment and talent. Effective transportation networks and water assets corresponds directly with the potential to grow businesses and reach markets.
"OGRA is very pleased that the report has recognized that funding transit infrastructure means funding transportation infrastructure province wide" said OGRA Executive Director Joe Tiernay. "Small and rural municipalities that don't have transit systems have long felt left behind due to being ineligible to receive gas tax funding."
OGRA President Joanne Vanderheyden added "Allowing all municipalities to consider other revenue tools would even the playing field while placing accountability at the local level". She went on to say that "Locally elected councils know best what is important to their residents."
Founded in 1894, the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) represents the infrastructure interests of municipalities through advocacy, consultation, training and the delivery of identified services.
SOURCE: Ontario Good Roads Association
For further information:
Ontario Good Roads Association
1525 Cornwall Road, Unit 22
Oakville, ON L6J 0B2
PHONE: 289-291-OGRA (6472)