TORONTO — The Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) issued a vote of support to the provincial government on budget day, April 27, with the CEO of the association praising the balanced budget delivered by Finance Minister Charles Sousa.
"Balancing this year's budget is a much anticipated and significant achievement for Ontario," said Barry Steinberg, the CEO, in a media statement. "Planning core investments without the burden of a deficit should substantially improve the government's ability to deliver on its commitments. This budget builds on the government's commitments to the people of Ontario."
The budget pledges to expand Ontario's investments in infrastructure by $30 billion to $190 billion over 13 years, starting in 2014-15, and represents a $5.966-billion increase over last year. The association noted emphasis on four key priorities: public transit ($56 billion); highways and transportation ($26 billion); grants to hospitals ($20 billion); and education ($16 billion).
Also central to infrastructure are continued commitments to municipalities through increased gas tax funding, the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, the Connecting Links program and the Trillium Trust, said Steinberg.
"CEO has consistently been a strong supporter of separate, dedicated funds for infrastructure investment. They are the most effective tools for providing value to taxpayers," said Steinberg. "The province's continued commitment to ensure the full funding of the Trillium Trust is important. It is an imperative tool for eliminating Ontario's core infrastructure deficit."
But Steinberg said the government needs to provide more detail on how the trust works.
"I don't think anyone in our industry really knows how it factors in to proper project planning, prioritization and execution," he said.
The CEO is non-profit association representing approximately 200 engineering firms.