March 1, 2018

Mark Romoff Head shot

Connecting Communities and Commerce

Blog Post by Mark Romoff, President and CEO, The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships

One hundred and fifty years ago, the economic growth and stability of Canada’s Confederation depended largely on the construction of the Intercolonial Railway. It was a condition written into the Constitution Act, 1867.

In 2018, Governments across Canada continue to make historic investments in rail services. In fact, the current plan to expand the rapid transit network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area of southern Ontario is one of the largest transit investments in the world valued at approximately $13.5 billion (CDN).

Ontario’s Regional Express Rail (RER) is a 21st century example of a transformational project that will drive economic development and prosperity for the next generation. It is vitally important, then, that it be done on time and on budget. Above all, we need to do it right.

The good news is we have the expertise and a track record of success in this country to make sure that happens. Canada is recognized around the world as best in class when it comes to delivering on its infrastructure agenda, particularly through the P3 model. This project is just another opportunity to demonstrate to other countries how they can successfully bring large, complex projects to market while ensuring a significant, bottom-line economic impact.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) are leading the project, but they will need private sector partners who can help ensure this network provides taxpayers with the very best return on their investment. It will be vital to the economic prosperity of not just the GTHA but to municipalities and regions across the province.

It has always been CCPPP’s role to promote smart, innovative, modern approaches to infrastructure development, so we’re happy to engage the public and private sector leaders in this important planning discussion. To that end, we are hosting a luncheon event in Toronto on Tuesday, March 6. Metrolinx President and CEO, Phil Verster and IO President and CEO, Ehren Cory will talk about their vision for RER (and beyond). Most important, they will invite input, questions and feedback from members of the private sector who do business in the P3 space. It will set the necessary tone for a healthy, transparent, ongoing dialogue on how best to deliver this historic and highly complex project.

Ours is a country that built its foundation on infrastructure. Our future is no different. Today, the vitality of our communities and commerce still rely on rail connections. The transcontinental steam engines, however, have evolved into light rail and rapid transit commuter services that knit the rural to the urban, the suburbs to our business districts.