Ontario Needs Leadership on Sustaining Municipal Infrastructure

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - The quality of Ontario's municipal
infrastructure affects our quality of life. It affects our health and safety,
our economy, and our ability to travel. The upcoming provincial election is a
welcome opportunity for Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) to underline the
issues that are critical to all Ontario municipalities.
    "OGRA has worked consistently to secure a sustainable source of revenue
for municipal transportation infrastructure," says OGRA's Executive Director,
Joe Tiernay. "Unfortunately, the 2007 provincial budget overlooked many
priority areas for municipalities, leaving them with considerable funding
gaps. Long-term planning and sustainability are not possible if these gaps are
not addressed," says Tiernay.
    In light of the upcoming election, OGRA asked Premier McGuinty, John Tory
and Howard Hampton questions regarding key issues affecting Ontario's
municipalities and published their responses in the September issue of OGRA's
Milestones magazine. The three leaders commented on sustainable funding to
municipalities for transportation infrastructure and measures to maximize the
funding that they receive, such as reducing municipal costs and allocating gas
tax revenues for municipal infrastructure. They discussed the implementation
of a province-wide transportation strategy that identifies and integrates both
provincial and municipal transportation needs, and offered their views on the
greening of municipal fleets to assist in the environmental sustainability of
municipal public works operations.
    While all three candidates agreed that increased investment in municipal
infrastructure is a priority, those words need to be translated into practice
with long-term funding that municipalities can count on year after year. The
bridge collapse in Laval (2006) and in Minneapolis this August raised
questions about the condition of Ontario's bridges. Because municipalities are
required to rigorously inspect bridges every two years, a similar collapse
here is unlikely, but bridge maintenance and repair is extremely costly.
    "While it doesn't pose a safety concern today, it's vital to our economy
that roads and bridges remain open across the province. We can't afford
closures due to a lack of funding for maintenance or repair," says Tiernay.
"OGRA wants to ensure that critical municipal issues are not forgotten
following the election. We look forward to working with Ontario's leader on
implementing long-term solutions for all our infrastructure needs."

    The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) represents the infrastructure
interests of municipalities through advocacy, consultation, training and the
delivery of identified services.

For further information:

For further information: Diana Summers, Ontario Good Roads Association,
(905) 795-2555 or diana@ogra.org

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