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OREA policy paper identifies top 10 infrastructure projects

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has released The Ten Infrastructure Projects for a More Competitive Ontario, a research report written in partnership with KPMG Global Infrastructure Advisory, outlining large infrastructure projects that it says will support a robust economy, creating new jobs and opportunities across the province.

To select the top 10, OREA and KPMG looked at economy-impacting projects across all infrastructure asset classes, then assessed them against specific criteria. Each of the 10 projects selected for inclusion addresses multiple strategic challenges, has a direct link to Ontario’s economic competitiveness, and is a project both of an ambitious scale, and is conceptual or in early planning stages, says OREA. “They also take into consideration the new ways of working, regional supply chains, and the extraordinary growth of e-commerce brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says the association in a news release.

“These large infrastructure projects will support a robust provincial economy by acting as magnets for talent and investment, creating a strong cycle of economic growth,” says OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “This allows Ontario to pay for the types of infrastructure and public services that spur productivity and improve quality of life, leading to higher paying jobs, business investment and more opportunities to increase housing supply and affordability.”

The first project in the report is a proposed Pearson Transit Hub. OREA says the area surrounding Toronto Pearson Airport is the second-largest employment area in the province, with 330,000 jobs, behind only downtown Toronto’s employment cluster. The proposed Pearson Transit Hub could nearly double that number of jobs by 2035, it says.

“Toronto Pearson is Canada’s gateway to the world and an economic anchor for the region,” says Deborah Flint, president and CEO, GTAA. “Improved transit connectivity in the heart of Canada’s second largest employment zone will fight climate change, improve access to jobs, and contribute economically to a growing province. We stand alongside leaders and experts from across the region to support government as they use the transformative power of transit connectivity.”

In order to reach this full potential, the Ontario government must do its part to integrate and advance several existing and planned transit lines into a new multimodal transportation anchor – the Pearson Transit Hub, says OREA.

“Lack of transit connectivity and traffic congestion often rank as Ontario’s most challenging economic problem, so we need to address this barrier to economic competitiveness if we want to bring the dream of home ownership closer to more Ontarians,” says Hudak. “With the infrastructure project proposals in this report, we hope to inspire future generations and generate sustained prosperity for everyone, resulting in strong and vibrant communities across the province.”

The 10 infrastructure projects outlined in the report are:

  1. A Pearson transit hub
  2. A new bypass for GTA freight rail
  3. Extending the Yonge Subway into York Region
  4. An eastern GTA transit hub
  5. Rapid transit in Toronto
  6. Frequent and reliable rail service between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal
  7. A new freeway and “21st-century border infrastructure” for the Niagara Peninsula
  8. A strategic transportation link to Ontario’s Ring of Fire
  9. Broadband to address the urban-rural digital divide
  10. Ontario’s clean energy potential