Why are Canada building more roads than other nations?
The answer is simple, says a leading road-building expert, because Canada is building more than any other country.
The Globe and Mail’s Stephen Quinn has tracked down an expert who says the answer is because the country has a surplus of roads and bridges, thanks to cheap and abundant oil.
“The infrastructure is so well maintained and so efficient,” says the consultant, who has been advising construction companies on the country’s infrastructure needs for nearly a decade.
“You don’t get a surplus like you get in other countries.”
Roads can’t keep up with demand for them, he says, so it’s no surprise the country is spending more on roads than the rest of the world.
“We have a big deficit of bridges and roads, but we are building a lot of bridges, too,” he says.
“And so the government is looking at the need to build more roads.”
He says Canada’s infrastructure is “on a roll” and the government has spent $5 billion on road projects since 2003.
But Quinn says there is a reason Canada is the only developed nation to have an infrastructure surplus.
“It is the result of a combination of factors,” he said.
“For example, the economy is strong, we have cheap and plentiful oil, we are very productive.”
But the real drivers of our roads are a combination (of) infrastructure, labour, environmental protection, and environmental concerns.
“In fact, the world’s most populous country has the world record for the number of road bridges, which total more than 1.2 million kilometres (1.2million miles) each, and the largest infrastructure deficit.
Roads are one of the most important infrastructure sectors in Canada, Quinn says, but the infrastructure is only one of many important factors.
The country also has a large trade surplus, thanks in part to the huge value of natural resources such as oil and natural gas, he adds.”
“So there are a lot more things going on than just our roads.””
The Globe And Post’s Paul Harris, a professor of transportation studies at the University of British Columbia, says there are two main drivers behind Canada’s massive road-related deficit.”
So there are a lot more things going on than just our roads.”
The Globe And Post’s Paul Harris, a professor of transportation studies at the University of British Columbia, says there are two main drivers behind Canada’s massive road-related deficit.
First, the country faces an unprecedented level of traffic, which he says is increasing.
Second, the province of Quebec has been building roads, with little public support.
In Quebec, which is part of the United States, the number road deaths have been declining for decades, according to Quinn.
But Quebec’s road infrastructure has not kept up with the demand for its roads, he points out.
“If you’re talking about roads in the United Kingdom, they’re not built in the same fashion,” he notes.
The biggest reason for the massive road deficit, he suggests, is the massive cost of building the roads.
Quinn says Canada could use a $10 billion investment in roads to help reduce congestion, improve quality of life and spur economic growth.
He also points to the fact that roads are built to last.
“Roads built before the first generation were basically like they were put on ice,” he explains.
Canada has built 1.5 million kilometres of new roads and other infrastructure since 2003, according, and has been on track to reach the next milestone by the end of 2019.”
And you don’t have the infrastructure to maintain them after you’ve built them.”
Canada has built 1.5 million kilometres of new roads and other infrastructure since 2003, according, and has been on track to reach the next milestone by the end of 2019.
According to Quinn, Canada is on track for a $7.5 billion infrastructure surplus by the time the next budget is published in 2019.
The cost of the roads, according a 2013 report by the Canadian Association of State Highway Officials, is estimated to be $1.7 trillion.
That number includes the cost of infrastructure including roads, bridges, roads and the like, and does not include any cost for environmental remediation, Quinn notes.
“So the amount of money spent on the roads is really quite high,” he adds, noting that the costs of maintaining the roads have not been factored into the figure.
Quampillos says the Canadian government should take a closer look at its infrastructure-related spending.
“In many ways, the current deficit is a reflection of the lack of infrastructure investment, and I think it’s important that we take a look at it,” he advises.
“I think there’s a lot we can do to address this issue.”
The Canadian Association Of State Highway Officers says the government should “look at how it’s spending the money that’s there.”
“There’s a way to solve the congestion problem.
It’s not by building more highways,” he stresses.
“It’s a combination.
And I think the government can do better than what it’s doing right now.”
But he also warns that if the current situation continues, there will be “serious consequences.”