December 9, 2011 by Andrew Snook
The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario has a message for the province regarding investment in infrastructure: keep it coming.
The RCCAO commissioned RiskAnalytica, a risk management firm, to evaluate the link between sustained investments in the infrastructure sector in relation to the prosperity of Ontarians. The report found that average real GDP growth could increase by more than one per cent annually for the next 50 years, if the investment outlined in Ontario’s 10-year Building Together report continues.
The RCCAO stated that the province’s Building Together plan proposes a more strategic, long-term approach to capital spending, including infrastructure asset management; however, the RCCAO also stated that Ontario’s GDP performance is “on a risky slope,” and reducing investment in infrastructure – or misallocating funding – could hinder economic growth.
“As governments face years of restraint, it is important to recognize that underinvestment in infrastructure could easily hurt our economic prospects and job growth,” said Andy Manahan, executive director of RCCAO. “There is still more room for further investment in the sector before the marginal returns diminish.”
RiskAnalytica’s report states that optimizing GDP growth in Ontario would require long-term infrastructure investments to increase by 40 per cent over the current levels in the 10-year Building Together plan.
Paul Smetanin, CEO of RiskAnalytica, said additional analysis is needed by sector and by infrastructure type.
“Perhaps most importantly, to ensure that infrastructure investments are allocated properly, our decision-making processes on infrastructure spending need to evolve,” Smetanin said.
He said infrastructure simulation models, for example, could provide better insight into priority setting based on objective economic and community data.
“The report carried out by RiskAnalytica on behalf of RCCAO indicates the value of adequate, stable infrastructure funding to the economic well-being of individuals, businesses and Ontario as a whole,” said Carl Bodimeade, chair of the Ontario Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure. “It demonstrates the substantial benefits that can result if the principles in Building Together are adopted and the proposed funding levels maintained over the long-term.”
The RCCAO stated that RiskAnalytica’s findings show a need for Ontario’s government and other partners – including the federal and municipal governments – to ensure stable and long-term funding programs are in place to support future growth.
“RCCAO welcomes the discussion between Queen’s Park, Ottawa, the municipal sector and the construction industry. We agree that this is the best way to move the province forward and build together,” says Manahan.
To download a copy of the report, visit: www.rccao.com