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Trudeau's promise of $125 billion for transportation infrastructure
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's election success and new approach to governance have Canada in the news the world over, but what does this mean for transportation and infrastructure?
The Liberal Party's majority win in the 2015 election has been attributed to Trudeau’s campaign promises, including numerous policy reforms and a commitment to ‘reinvest’ in Canada. This platform seemed to resonate with a country in the midst of an economic downturn, with the Canadian dollar posting its lowest exchange rate with the US dollar since 2002 and GDP growth slowing to 0.8% by the end of 2015. The Liberals are planning to run short-term deficits to spur long-term growth. A significant portion of this increased budget will help fund infrastructure projects as a means of developing Canadian communities and the economy. The new government has promised to increase infrastructure spending above previous levels by CA$60 billion over the next ten years, bringing total federal infrastructure spending to CA$125 billion. Of this, nearly CA$20 billion has been earmarked for public transit alone.
In addition to funding increases, the Liberals are also likely to implement changes to how funds are spent, with more cooperation between local jurisdictions and federal departments. Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s infrastructure minister, wants fewer strings attached to federal commitments, stating that local areas “know their needs better than I do.”
Steer Davies Gleave is well positioned to help guide this historic investment in Canada’s public transit networks and infrastructure. Our team of consultants is currently involved in over 40 projects in a variety of local jurisdictions throughout the country, and has been a core contributor to some of the country’s most recent ambitious and innovative transportation projects, including:
• Developing Hamilton’s LRT to a maximum state of readiness: A proposed 5-line rapid transit network is poised to revolutionize transit access in Hamilton, Ontario. Steer Davies Gleave has been an integral part of the planning process, and is currently helping the City update plans for their first line — the B-Line LRT.
• GO Transit Electrification Study: Metrolinx (the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s regional transportation authority) has an ambitious plan to bring frequent all-day service to the region’s commuter rail network. Steer Davies Gleave helped develop the decision-making framework to assess technology and corridor options, ensuring transparent and justifiable process. This electrification study was a key contributor to the development of the Regional Express Rail (RER) program. The outcomes of Steer Davies Gleave’s work on electrification inform the development of RER and Smart Track, which has been highlighted as a strong candidate for government funding.
• South of Fraser Rapid Transit:the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council on Transportation released their Vision for Transportation Investment in 2014, and this included investment in rapid transit in Surrey and the Langleys. Steer Davies Gleave is part of a joint venture leading the development of the technical work to advance designs, planning and cost estimating to support the region’s funding application(s) for the network.
Written by Ian Druce.
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