Pools, arenas and other "modern and efficient public infrastructure" spending

 Economic Action Plan

The federal budget of last week included a commitment to a 10-year $53-billion infrastructure spending program, “a new infrastructure plan focused on projects that create jobs and economic growth,” the budget documents said.

The purpose of the multi-billion dollar infrastructure programs that are just wrapping up as well as the decade-long one ahead of us is to build “modern and efficient public infrastructure in every community.”

The new infrastructure spending plan, the budget docs said, will be very much like the ones just completed: “The federal government has supported over 43,000 infrastructure projects across Canada under the $33-billion Building Canada plan launched in 2007, the stimulus phase of the Economic Action Plan launched in Budget 2009, and subsequent investments.”

What kind of projects will get federal funding? Projects that can leverage “Canada’s infrastructure advantage, a key enabler of economic growth and job creation. New investments will focus on projects that promote productivity and economic growth such as highways and public transit.”

Ok. But let’s not kid ourselves that all infrastructure spending is equal.

For example, the day after the budget, the federal government made four announcements, from existing infrastructure spending programs. Here’s a description of those projects, presumably all of them “key enablers of economic growth and job creation” that “promote productivity and economic growth.”

Add it all up and that’s about $750,000 worth of spending in just one day by just one government department and at the end of it all, federal taxpayers will have new multi-purpose room, a fixed-up hockey rink, a new pool filter, and a new interpretative centre. And these are not untypical — in fact they are very typical — of the 43,000 infrastructure projects that “promote productivity and economic growth.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *