The State of Our Roads: Good News for Infrastructure Renewal

One of the most significant issues that any Councillor deals with on a daily basis, and certainly every rural Councillor, is the state of our roads. Since 2012, Council has continuously worked to close the funding gap when it comes to infrastructure renewal. This would include buildings, parks, sidewalks, roads, etc. In 2012, Council approved a one-time funding program called Ottawa on the Move that saw $340M invested directly into renewal between then and 2014. Additionally, over the last six years, Council has set aside annual increases to our renewal budget to help close that gap in our annual budget. It has helped but it hasn’t been nearly enough.

The commitment that has been made in recent years has seen vast improvements in our rural road network throughout Ottawa. Over 30% of all annual road renewal funding is spent in the rural area. This year, for instance, the City is resurfacing Shea Road, Bleeks Road and William McEwen Drive. In recent years, we’ve seen renewal of Moodie Drive, Century Road West, Donnelly Drive, Bridge Street, Church Street, Ottawa Street and so on. Every time the City resurfaces a road, though, there is really no time to rest on our laurels as we have an abundance of other roads that require attention.

The last time that the City did a Long Range Financial Plan and updated its Asset Management Plan was in 2012 and the result was that increased commitment to renewal and the Ottawa on the Move program. In recent weeks, Council approved our next Long Range Financial Plan with a major focus on infrastructure renewal. Even though we had been adding more money in every budget, our annual funding gap toward renewal is $70M. We are spending $125M on infrastructure renewal when we should be spending $195M.

In June, Council approved our most recent update to the Long Range Financial Plan with the following key recommendations:

  • That the contribution from taxation for the renewal of existing assets be increased by inflation (Construction Price Index) and an additional $10.5 million in the 2018 budget, as a priority within Council’s approved tax targets.
  • That the annual contribution from taxation for the renewal of existing assets be increased annually by inflation and an additional $7.8 million per year starting in the 2019 budget for 9 years as outlined in this report.
  • That staff continue to pursue permanent stable funding from the federal and provincial governments for the renewal of existing assets.

This significant increase in funding will help advance more roads, parks and building renewal projects in the coming years. Further to that, we have also improved some additional funding for this year and I have been working with staff to try and secure some improvements in Richmond on Strachan, Martin and Colonel Murray. It likely won’t be full resurfacing but something better than the patch work that was done previously.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit RideauGoulbourn.ca.