November 6, 2006

Leaving roads and highways in poor repair hurts standard of living, CAA says

Ottawa, Ontario – A new report linking the deteriorating state of Canada’s roads and highways directly to the standard of living and prosperity of Canadians will be brought to Parliament Hill tomorrow by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

The report, entitled “Roads and Highways: Critical to Canada’s Competitiveness”, was prepared by the Centre for Spatial Economics, a leading economic think-tank. The report concludes that roads and highways must be made a national priority, and that Canada’s federal government needs to take a leadership role in working with the provinces to develop a National Highway Policy. This policy would need to be supported with sustainable, long-term funding that would ensure optimal standards nationwide.

“Compared with the United States and most of the EU, we continue to be the only country that does not recognize that our roads and highways are a key asset for our competitiveness,” says David Flewelling, President of CAA. “The United States, our greatest trading partner, is investing $286 billion dollars over the next six years in their roads and highways infrastructure. We need to recognize once and for all that our infrastructure needs to be brought up to a safe and efficient level now, before Canada’s economy is crippled by the need for a massive and costly reconstruction effort.”

The report makes the case that delays due to congestion and poor road conditions are undermining important elements of the economy, such as trade, tourism, commute times and the environment.

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