OTTAWA, Ont. – Today’s Fall Economic Statement proposed an additional $81 billion in infrastructure spending and acknowledges that ‘the performance of Canada’s transportation system underpins the country’s trade performance, the performance of the economy and the health and sustainability of communities.’
An investment of $10.1 billion is expected to be made into trade and transportation projects over the next 11 years.
Federal finance minister Bill Morneau also recommended the establishment of a $35 billion Canada Infrastructure Bank, an arm’s-length organization dedicated to increasing public-private investment in transformational, growth-oriented infrastructure.
The minister’s statement indicated that the over-$10-billion investment into trade and transportation is earmarked to ‘build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets.’
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said it remains to be seen what this proposed investment would mean and what impact it would eventually have if implemented.
“Canada is suffering from an infrastructure gap and is in the unfortunate position of playing catch-up in a slow-growth environment,” said CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance David Bradley. “But we’ll need to see the details of what transportation corridors will be funded and how long it will take to see the impact before we can assess the plan.
“Leveraging increased private investment envisaged by the Infrastructure Bank makes sense if it happens. But it will also inevitably mean more tolls and user fees, so we will need to see a real return in terms of reduced congestion, more predictable transit times and direct foreign investment in Canada – i.e., more freight.”
The CTA said the Fall Economic Statement predicted continued sluggish economic growth for the next five years and did not provide a timeframe for returning to a balanced budget.