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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Private money in public infrastructure

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Christopher Hume, in the Star today, writes about the need for the private sector to invest in building Toronto’s future infrastructure. I’m very wary of this, but Hume makes a point of how uncomfortable Ontarians are about P3 models, highlighting the ownership debacle of the 407 highway. At least he is smart enough to point out the pitfalls of this type of development.

God knows infrastructure investment makes sense in Toronto, and Ontario. According to the government’s own figures, the province will need to spend $100 billion over the next 30 years to keep its infrastructure from collapse. That’s a lot of money, much more than we can afford here in Ontario. At the same time, the idea of letting private interests invest in the public infrastructure bothers Ontarians to no end. That’s not hard to understand — the corporate sector hasn’t exactly distinguished itself lately. But many say it must happen despite our reluctance.