Ontario introduces 10-year infrastructure plan

With an estimated C$35bn in investments over the next three years, the programme aims to develop better public transit systems, roads and bridges. Public-private partnerships will have a large role to play in the province's future infrastructure plans.

The Ministry of Infrastructure in Ontario, Canada, has released a 10-year infrastructure plan that includes C$35 billion (€24.9 billion; $35.4 billion) in investment over the next three years.

The plan does not give many specifics on the amounts that the province intends to invest in particular projects over the next decade, but emphasises developing public transit systems in southern Ontario, rebuilding bridges, and developing better roads to access fast-growing areas outside urban centres. The plan also includes investments in social infrastructure and water systems.

Ontario has invested C$62 billion in infrastructure since 2003, according to a statement from the Ministry of Infrastructure, marking the highest level of investment in infrastructure since the post-World War II era.

Public-private partnerships, or alternative financing and procurement models (AFPs), have a large role to play in the future infrastructure development, according to the plan, which highlighted the 11-kilometre Windsor-Essex Parkway and the extension of Toronto’s Highway 407 as two examples of recent AFP projects.  

A group led by Spanish developer ACS has reached financial close for the C$1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway late last year, while the Highway 407 Extension is still in procurement, with three groups whose members include Borealis Infrastructure, Macquarie, OHL, Global Via, Bilfinger Berger and Cintra competing for the project.

Under the new plan, Infrastructure Ontario (IO), the province’s procurement body, will have broader powers. In addition to overseeing projects in new areas like information technology, IO will also “have a greater role in procuring infrastructure, including engaging in traditional forms of procurement as well as AFPs when appropriate”, according to the plan.

The plan also states that Ontario will aim to have more “bundled” groups of smaller projects that IO will deliver either through AFP models or through traditional procurement.

To date, IO has procured 50 AFP projects with capital construction costs of about C$21 billion. The Ministry of Infrastructure said that 16 of 17 completed AFP projects have stayed on budget.  IO also recently merged with the Ontario Realty Corporation, an agency responsible for provincial government buildings and land.