National Infrastructure Summit

National Infrastructure Summit

January 12, 2011 12:16 ET

Recent Reforms Open Door to Permanent Infrastructure Fix, Says National Infrastructure Summit Chair

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 12, 2011) - As it balances its budget deficit, the federal government can strengthen the national economy by turning recent reforms into a permanent fix for Canada's aging municipal infrastructure, says Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco, chair of the upcoming National Infrastructure Summit.

"While all governments helped restore infrastructure investments the last few years, we also saw fundamental reforms to the infrastructure funding system itself," said Fiacco. "Longer-term planning, more efficient programs, and a growing emphasis on repairs and rehabilitation – these are essential building blocks for solving our infrastructure problems once and for all."

Municipalities own and operate more than half of Canada's infrastructure, but lack the revenue tools to meet these and other growing responsibilities. Since the 1970s, Canada's $123 billion municipal infrastructure deficit has been a growing burden on the national economy. The Federal Competition Review Panel, TD Economics and - most recently - chambers of commerce across Canada have all reached the same conclusion: to keep its economy strong, Canada needs a national plan to put its municipal infrastructure back on solid ground.

In the upcoming federal Budget, the government must commit to replacing its existing infrastructure framework, the Building Canada Plan, when it expires in 2014. Over the next three years it must work with other orders of government and the private sector on a plan that ensures proper, ongoing maintenance and repair of all infrastructure assets, new and old. Despite a large backlog of infrastructure repairs, more than 80 per cent of Canada's total infrastructure investments continue to go into new construction.

"As the stimulus blitz ends, and all governments get their books back in order, we have a chance to pause and plan for the future," said Fiacco. "That discussion starts at the National Infrastructure Summit."

The National Infrastructure Summit will bring together experts in infrastructure planning, construction, and maintenance to take stock of recent investments, identify future challenges, and share leading-edge best practices.

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