Sustainable investment needed for infrastructure

Vancouver Sun
By John Gamble
June 10, 2013

Infrastructure is an investment – not an expense. It is an investment in our economic, social and environmental quality of life.

If the benefits to our quality of life are to be sustainable, either economically or environmentally, then the investment must also be sustainable. [EXPAND Read more]

While all levels of government have roles and responsibilities for Canada’s infrastructure, the federal government’s leadership plays a critical role in the success of these programs.

Therefore, the commitment to a 10-year infrastructure program by the federal government to support renewal is significant and is welcomed.

Sustainable infrastructure investment makes good business sense for public agencies charged with planning, developing and operating infrastructure assets.

A sound investment strategy is long-term and predictable.

Sporadic, time-limited infrastructure programs create uncertainty for municipalities and infrastructure agencies. It becomes difficult for them to adequately plan longer-term needs – preventing them from investing strategically.

This poses a number of practical and logistical problems.

Short-term programs make it extremely difficult for government and infrastructure agencies, engineering firms and construction companies to attract, train and retain the expertise required to deliver infrastructure projects. These are largely high-skilled, well-trained professionals – often requiring licensing.

Also, when a large number of projects are required to be designed and constructed within the same short time frame, the forces of supply and demand result in higher costs.

Short-term programs also tend to result in low complexity projects which are not necessarily the projects with the most strategic or long-term economic value – limiting the potential long-term competitive advantages to the Canadian economy.

Strategic investment in infrastructure is imperative to achieving sustainability and significant life-cycle savings. A sustainable, long-term, strategic infrastructure investment plan will make Canada more competitive, create long-term jobs in multiple sectors and make our economy more resistant to downturns.

This investment is essential not only to our economy but also to our quality of life and to sustaining the environment that surrounds us. [/EXPAND]