Huge infrastructure program anticipated
By Andy Bateman
Dec 11, 2008 – With a federal budget due on January
27, Canadian transportation agencies and municipalities are being advised to
have a list of infrastructure projects at the ready.
Last Saturday, U.S. president-elect Barack Obama
committed to the largest construction program since the creation of the U.S.
Interstate highway system half a century ago. Obama's vast commitment included
“schools, sewer systems, mass transit, electric grids, dams and other public utilities”,
although no price tag was attached.
Here in Canada,
many hold the view that the Harper government should follow Obama’s lead sooner
rather than later, notwithstanding the generally better health of the Canadian
economy and the distractions of Ottawa’s
recent political antics. Others question the wisdom of a hasty economic
stimulus package leading to increased long term debt. By all
accounts, the “act now” view holds sway both outside and inside government and seems
likely to be reflected in the January budget.
For our agencies and municipalities, the message from
a number of experts is clear. Be ready with that project list as a flow of
infrastructure funds may be just round the corner.