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Survey highlights key trends and challenges in funding Canada’s transportation infrastructure development


 A recent survey, conducted by the Strategy Institute following the unveiling of an investment strategy by Metrolinx to fund and implement the $34 billion in proposed Next Wave projects of The Big Move, reveals that 84 per cent of the participating stakeholders have high levels of interest towards meeting and discussing their transportation infrastructure plans with decision-makers.

While this percentage may look astounding, there’s a split between those who wish to meet with government officials versus those wanting to meet with non-government organizations.

Provincial officials top the demand list for meeting to discuss transit plan with nearly 54 per cent, followed by Federal and Municipal officials with 33 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively. Infrastructure Investors top the demand on the non-government front with 33 per cent, followed by Strategic Partners, Project Financiers, Consulting & Engineering Firms and Institutional Investors.

The survey goes on to identify the top three challenges and the alternative methods of choice to support sustainable funding for transportation infrastructure development in the country.

Navigating the political decision-making process is voted as the most time-intensive stage before the initiation of an infrastructure project with 60.3 per cent.

As Liberal Transportation Minister Glen Murray leads a taskforce over the summer to review the Metrolinx proposals, stakeholders are welcoming the news of him addressing them with a more specific perspective in September. Murray will be speaking on ‘Financing Public Transit for the Next Generation of Ontarians’ at The Strategy Institute’s summit on Transportation Infrastructure Funding & Financing, which will be held in Toronto on September 17-18 and where national and international experts will gather to discuss the country’s strategy in a global outlook.

“We tend to think of infrastructure financing in terms of big ticket items, subways, LRTs, and major roads as examples, but infrastructure can be the small stuff too. The detailed work of city building includes accessible sidewalks, beautiful and safe bike lanes, and mid-block access through animated lanes. These parts of a transportation system also need investment,” says Adam Vaughan, Councillor, City of Toronto.

Nearly 40 per cent of survey participants believe in securing long-term investments and sustainable project support through traditional funding strategies. While a relative majority could be skeptic on this approach, they will get an opportunity to hear about Edmonton’s unique approach on traditional funding with its ‘Long-term Neighborhood Renewal Program,’ which will also be part of the same summit in September.

While some survey respondents suggest Urban Core Access Charge, such as London, England’s now-famous example, Development Levies was voted (39.7 per cent votes) as an alternative method of choice to support sustainable transportation infrastructure funding.

“Transportation infrastructure is the very backbone of any nation and few investments have as large of an overall payback, both immediately and in the future.  The Summit will provide a key opportunity to explore the latest funding options and most innovative financing methods to help us build and maintain our vital infrastructure”, says Phillip A. Washington, General Manager and CEO of the Denver Regional Transportation District, USA, who will be speaking at the summit on their Eagle P3 Mega-Project.

The full survey report is available for free download at www.transportationfinancing.com




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