Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) supports the Ontario government for working closely with the feds to speed up approvals for infrastructure projects.
In its 2020 budget, Finance Minister Rod Phillips called on the federal government to commit an additional $100 billion over 10 years for shovel ready infrastructure projects.
“Municipalities are putting off numerous infrastructure maintenance and repair projects that were scheduled to go ahead this fall because COVID-19 has strained local finances,” said RCCAO executive director Andy Manahan. “Local governments of all sizes need a strong signal that funding will be in place soon so investments in transportation systems, bridges and other capital works can proceed.”
In a press release, RCCAO says further delays in approving state-of-good-repair (SOGR) projects are preventing much-needed investments that will create jobs and provide valuable infrastructure to communities. The construction industry relies on work from maintenance and repair projects and delaying them will drastically reduce revenue for small- and medium-sized contractors.
“Investments in state-of-good-repair projects create much-needed jobs and will help kick-start the economic recovery of Ontario,” Manahan said. “Tens of thousands of construction workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas could lose their jobs between now and spring if funding does not flow to the municipalities.”
RCCAO is calling on the provincial and federal governments to continue working together to “push out funding as fast as possible to cash-strapped municipalities”.
A recent survey commissioned for RCCAO showed that due to COVID-19, 61 per cent of civil and engineering contractors in Ontario are anticipating revenue declines in 2020 and 25 per cent report they will need government support to stay afloat. Meanwhile, 56 per cent said there have been fewer municipal projects available to bid on since July 1.
“It is crucial to get both the provincial and federal governments working together to accelerate the flow of project infrastructure funds,” Manahan said. “Defunding capital programs will lead to crumbling infrastructure and massive job losses in construction across Ontario.”