The Government of Ontario tabled the 2021 Fall Economic Statement. This document contained a number of positive developments for Ontario’s municipal transportation and infrastructure sectors. Good Roads is pleased to share some of these highlights with its members.
The province announced its intentions to double the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF). It has allocated an additional $1 billion, which would bring the total OCIF contributions to approximately $2 billion over five years. This will provide some predictability to the 424 small, rural, and northern municipalities to assist them in building and repairing roads, bridges, and water, and wastewater infrastructure. Since Good Roads recently calculated that the municipal infrastructure deficit for roads and bridges sits at close to $34 billion this announcement is welcome.
The province has also pledged $474 million over five years to address large bridge rehabilitation projects in southern Ontario. While it is unclear at this time if municipal bridges qualify for this funding, Good Roads welcomes this news and encourages the province to pilot a bundling approach to municipal bridge rehabilitation projects as studies have demonstrated this could save costs and expedite timelines.
Municipal transit was also addressed in the Government of Ontario’s mid-year plan. The province plans to allocate an additional $345 million in 2021-22 in municipal transit systems as a result of the pandemic’s impact on ridership and Gas Tax revenue.
“Today’s news is a step in the right direction for Ontario’s municipalities. We hope to see some creative delivery methods such as project bundling on some of these key infrastructure projects” said Scott Butler, Good Roads’ Executive Director.
Good Roads President Dave Burton added, “The doubling of OCIF is welcome news for Ontario’s municipal sector and chips away at Ontario’s massive municipal infrastructure deficit.”