Getting Prices Right

Canadian cities not only have to provide roads, transit, water, sewers, and other “hard” infrastructure, they also have to provide “soft” infrastructure and services that enhance the quality of life in their communities—parks, libraries, social housing, and recreational facilities. Does it matter how cities pay for infrastructure and services? I believe it does. In particular,

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From Developing Needs to Developing Solutions

With municipal revenues failing to keep pace with investment needs, civic leaders across Canada face the daunting task of managing scarce dollars, balancing competing demands for services, and ensuring citizens continue to enjoy a high quality of life. While the challenges confronting Edmonton are no different, the City has long understood the importance of sound

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Building a Better Road

Rural towns in the West are sleepy little affairs, and the small southern Alberta town in which I grew up is no different. There were, however, two occasions when the local hum-drum was broken, and believe it or not, both brouhahas involved infrastructure. The first was whether a new sportsplex arena should be built to

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Sustainable Infrastructure Investment Critical to the Economy

There is little doubt about the need for safe, reliable, and efficient core infrastructure, both for the safety of Canadians and the competitiveness of the Canadian economy. The Canadian Construction Association, which represents the non-residential construction industry, has worked diligently to ensure that infrastructure remains a key policy consideration for the federal government.  We believe

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1 cent Solution to a Billion Dollar Problem (Part IV)

Solutions to policy problems seldom enjoy unanimous, much less unqualified, support. The “Penny Tax” is no exception. In this final segment, I respond to the critics. Criticism: The infrastructure deficit is fictitious.  It compares what “is” spent (observable) with what “ought” to be spent (unobservable). Many infrastructure “needs” are really “wants,” “whims,” or “dreams.” The Canada West Foundation

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1 cent Solution to a Billion Dollar Problem (Part III)

As a former colony and dominion of the British empire, Canada has inherited a number of practices and traditions that developed and evolved in Great Britain.  Canada’s parliament—based on the Westminster system—is but one example. A less well-known but not unimportant “hang-over” from Canada’s colonial days is the heavy reliance of our local governments on

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