Infrastructure is essential for cities to thrive

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Infrastructure is essential for cities to thrive

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Infrastructure is essential for cities to thrive

Over the last four decades, amid soaring health care and education costs, local governments have been saddled with supporting 67 per cent of infrastructure costs

We all take infrastructure for granted —until something goes wrong.

Remember the infamous blackout of August 2003, when most of Ontario and the northeastern United States were plunged into darkness? The power outage was caused by a deteriorating grid that buckled under the pressure of increased demand.

More recently, in July 2013, the worst flash flood in Toronto’s history dumped 126 millimetres of rain on Canada’s largest city, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of homes, halting subway and GO Train service, flooding roads, and causing over-loaded pipes to back-up into people’s basements.

Both are harrowing examples of circumstances where aging and under-funded infrastructure couldn’t keep up and Toronto, the nation’s economic powerhouse, was all but shut down as a result.

Fundamental to civic growth

“Infrastructure enables our cities to function, yet you don’t think about it until there’s a problem,” says Giovanni Cautillo, executive director of both the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association and the Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors’ Association. “When things are working fine everyone takes infrastructure for granted.”

Infrastructure like the kind Cautillo and his members deal with on a daily basis—the pipes that bring us fresh clean water and take away the dirty stuff—is, not something we notice, even though it’s fundamental to our daily lives. […]

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