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Results: 1 - 15 of 435
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Witnesses, thank you for coming today.
I was struck by the statements of my colleague, Ms. Davies, about the lineups for buses. As a member of Parliament from Toronto, I know we have similar situations in our subway system. Where I live, one can stand on the platform and wait for a couple of trains to go by before space opens up, and then just enough to squeeze in quite uncomfortably.
With the need for transit being so immediate in Vancouver and other cities across the country, I'm wondering about your thoughts on the government's dedicated transit fund, where we will see no money this year, no money next year, $250 million in the third year, $500 million, and then we get to $1 billion around the time we're back into an election, assuming a majority government and usual cycle.
I was already struck by that and also in the context of the expense of these lines, like Evergreen and Broadway. Assuming, let's say, three years out we finally get some money out of the dedicated transit fund, $250 million on a national basis—I guess one doesn't know whether Vancouver would be the recipient of any of that funding, it still being a bit unclear about how that would be divvied up, but assume for the moment that you've got your share, whatever that may be—do you know how much of that would be for your system and what you could get, if I can put it in those terms, for that amount of money?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
I looked at what $250 million might look like for Toronto and our TTC. I think I calculated, assuming that in the great lottery that will ensue under this program, that we would maybe get, if we got a fair share, $20 million three years from now to fund public transit in the city of Toronto. I appreciate your point, if I understand it correctly, that you simply don't know how all of this is going to work and can't put a dollar amount on it.
It's a shame Mayor Vrbanovic had to leave us. I thought he made a very important contribution to the discussion today, putting this kind of funding in a global context and allowing us to understand that what's at stake here is the future of very significant economic growth and development on a global scale and global implications such as the innovation corridor. In that kind of context, I look at the back-end funding proposed by the dedicated—
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Yes.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I appreciate that.
Do you have any thoughts about Mr. Vrbanovic's contribution today and the global context in which he puts cities and the importance of infrastructure investment for the competitiveness of Canadian cities?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you to the witnesses for making time for us today and for sharing your thoughts and expertise with us on this important issue of infrastructure in Canada. As you commented, it is a very timely issue. We're all abuzz about infrastructure these days.
Professor Siemiatycki, you mentioned an interesting point about the cost share between actual capital or construction costs for infrastructure and operations and maintenance, it being a 20-80 split respectively. This study is meant to take a retrospective view of investment and infrastructure in Canada, and I think the timing is 20 years.
The timing doesn't really matter. The data we've seen shows that there's been a slowing of infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP in this country since the late 1950s or something like that, leading to a low point in the late 1990s where there was a net depreciation of infrastructure in Canada. While the funds look bigger now, we've had a Parliamentary Budget Officer study also on the infrastructure funds under our current government showing significant lapses in funding, so continuing underinvestment in infrastructure funding in Canada.
Can you tell us whether this underinvestment in infrastructure, given that so much of the funding should be going to operations and maintenance, is costing us money? Is it more economical to provide stable, predictable funding to maintain operations and maintenance of built infrastructure in this country?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Are there actually any quantitative studies of the cost of underinvestment in infrastructure? Do you know of any?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Right.
But assuming that there are, Mr. Toderian, I'd like to ask you a question. You mentioned the inequity of a third, a third, and a third being split between different levels of government. Also, you'll probably be aware that the dedicated transit fund announced recently in the budget, because it's administered through PPP Canada, actually only makes a 25% contribution from the federal government.
If Professor Siemiatycki's numbers are right, that you have P3s adding 25% to the cost of the project, then you have a 42% burden of these transit projects falling on cities, and then you have the cost of underinvestment in infrastructure—and those costs fall locally—this seems to be becoming a bit of a nightmare for municipal governments across Canada. I don't know if you want to comment.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Okay, I'll take another crack at it next time.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you.
It's wonderful to have another opportunity to ask some questions of our witnesses.
Mr. Watson, in his opportunity to ask questions, gave us a clinic on this government's failure to understand the importance of cities to the success—economically, socially, and ecologically—of Canada, and the implications for all Canadians, frankly, for us as a country, of failing to make investments in the infrastructure of our cities. When the government brought Infrastructure Canada to the committee to be witnesses, to talk to us about these things, we found out that the funding for infrastructure under the new building Canada fund is entirely without objectives, without policy, and without data to inform it.
I'm wondering, Mr. Toderian, especially given your experience with cities around the world, if you might suggest to us what kind of criteria ought to be attached at the federal level to infrastructure spending in municipalities in this country.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you very much.
Professor Siemiatycki, I'm wondering if you could take a crack at answering the same question. What criteria would you apply to federal funding for municipal infrastructure?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
We're here, Mr. Chair, doing a study in the spirit of learning from the people whom we call to be witnesses. Rather than treating them with the kind of hostility that we've seen from the other side, it would be useful for all of us—I'm interested in the answers to Mr. Braid's and Mr. Watson's questions—if we allowed the witnesses to answer the questions.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and through you, I thank the witnesses for their presentations today.
Mr. Carlton, perhaps I could start with you.
I think you described our study today as an important one. I agree with you, but it is also, I think, a bit of a curious study in that there's no explicit purpose for it. I think you have to read between the lines.
In the absence of a clear purpose statement for what we're doing here, I was wondering if you might lend us one. If you were to say, “Guys, you ought to be studying this issue in infrastructure and this is why”, what would the why be? How would you advise that we go about this study? What metrics ought we to be using here to see whether we're meeting the purpose that you give it? I'm going to presume for a moment that the purpose is have we done it right for the last 20 years, have we spent the right amount of money on the right things, have we spent money prudently, has it been too much or too little?
Does that make sense?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
You have the economic and the environmental in there. Would you throw any social criteria in there, too?
Metrolinx recently commissioned a report about transit equity in Toronto. I wonder what your thoughts are about the role of infrastructure in, broadly speaking, equity issues.
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
You've laid out a number of metrics for us. Broadly speaking, what are the major lessons learned over the last 20 years?
View Matthew Kellway Profile
NDP (ON)
In light of the discussion about asset management, Mr. Carlton, you had tied investment to GDP at 4% to 5% as what ought to be happening. Is that just a kind of rough measure you throw out, or is there a dollar figure you'd like to put on that? Presumably, if you tie it to GDP, you end up as we did in the dip, where governments in the 1990s chose to get their fiscal houses in order as opposed to making those kinds of investments, etc. Is there a dollar figure you'd put on this, or are you happy with infrastructure investment at the federal level being tied to economic growth?
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