Ontario has released its infrastructure update, BuildON 2017. In the report, Minister Chiarelli announced that the province will be releasing its next long-term infrastructure plan this year, as well.
Expected areas of focus for the 2017 long-term infrastructure plan will address:
- Ontario’s infrastructure needs and priorities and the government’s strategy to address these needs;
- excellence in Ontario’s asset management and infrastructure planning;
- opportunities for innovation in a robust, evidence-based process for infrastructure planning;
- technical analysis of asset management plans.
“We will effectively utilize the newly enacted Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015 to ensure our future activities reflect our commitment to infrastructure development and our priorities of improving productivity, creating jobs, enabling our communities and contributing to environmental and fiscal sustainability, while meeting the needs of Ontarians,” said Minister Chiarelli in his letter, included in the report.
In the report, the AFP model was put forward as a successful financing approach to deliver public infrastructure projects. Under the model, “Infrastructure Ontario (IO) has delivered 55 infrastructure projects, including hospitals, roads, transit systems, courthouses and detention centres. According to a 2016 track record report that assessed 51 AFP projects, 96 per cent were delivered on budget and 73 per cent were delivered on time.” And under the Trillium Trust Act of 2015, the province plans to continue to free-up equity in public holdings of 2015 to fund new asset development.
Trillium Trust options.
The report also acknowledged the funding made available to municipalities and other public sector entities through the Infrastructure Loan Program. Through the program, IO has provided over “$7.7 billion in affordable long-term financing to public sector clients throughout Ontario.”
Another, long-term funding prospect described in the report is the federal infrastructure bank. The province described its intent to work with the federal government to ensure that the bank will coordinate with its AFP model, stating that the province “will continue to work with federal counterparts to ensure the Bank complements Ontario’s existing approach to infrastructure procurement, including the application of innovative financing tools such as the AFP model.”
Over 12 years, starting in 2014–15, as outlined in Ontario’s 2016 budget, the provincial government will be incesting $160 billion in infrastructure. The investments are expected to produce 110,000 jobs on average, each year.
And on the need for infrastructure investment, Minister Chiarelli further stated, “Experts report an unprecedented growth in demand has begun putting pressure on infrastructure assets. It is becoming increasingly important to prioritize infrastructure activities that will respond to these trends. We must find bold and innovative ways to meet our future needs.”
The full report can be read here.