Infrastructure Spending: Overview
A significant amount of money will be spent on infrastructure over the next decade:
- The Federal government plans to invest more than $120 billion over the next 10 years.
- The province of Ontario has committed to spending $130 billion over the same time period.
This funding should include investments in green infrastructure.
Why it Matters
Green infrastructure can deliver cost savings to municipalities already facing infrastructure affordability challenges.
Many municipal water supply, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure systems across Ontario are approaching the end of their planned service life. Replacing or rehabilitating these systems will require major investments. Implementing green infrastructure solutions, however, can deliver significant savings through:
- reduced capital costs;
- reduced flood damage costs; and,
- lower costs associated with maintaining stormwater systems over their lifespan.
Properly scaled and sited green infrastructure systems can manage runoff as effectively as conventional stormwater infrastructure at a comparable or lower cost. Green infrastructure can be anywhere from 5% to 30% less costly to construct, and approximately 25% less costly over its life cycle, than traditional infrastructure that performs comparably.
When living green infrastructure is dovetailed into other planning or infrastructure projects, it provides a multi-functional investment that is practical and financially effective. For example, the development of new transit infrastructure is an opportune time to introduce green infrastructure stormwater management practices such a permeable pavements, bioswales, or new tree planting. This ensures infrastructure funding supports both the main service (transportation) while also contributing to stormwater management and community livability.
What GIO is Doing
GIO works with government to increase policy support for and investment in green infrastructure. Our current infrastructure spending priorities are:
Promoting Investment in Green Infrastructure
Federal Phase 1 Infrastructure Spending
GIO has worked with the Federal Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities to ensure green infrastructure projects are eligible for infrastructure funding. We are pleased to announce that green infrastructure projects are now eligible under the Federal Clean Waste Water Fund.
Read GIO’s federal infrastructure memos:
Federal Phase 2 Infrastructure Plan Consultation
GIO participated in the Federal consultation process around phase 2 of their infrastructure plan. We propose three specific recommendations that will help provide cost-effective infrastructure funding to communities across the country:
- Implement a ‘consider living green infrastructure first’ policy for infrastructure funding.
- Allocate 15% of infrastructure funds to a dedicated funding stream for living green infrastructure.
- Work with partners to develop and implement a national living green infrastructure strategy.
Read the full submission here.
Provincial Infrastructure Definition: In 2012, GIO submitted a Provincial Environment Bill of Rights Application for Review emphasizing the need for the Province to include sustainability principles in the definition of infrastructure. We argued that there is a lack of clear definition of green infrastructure and different infrastructure approaches among the various ministries, which prevent uniform treatment and implementation of policies and funding to promote sustainable and complete communities.
Read the full submission here.