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jerryking : megaprojects   2

Jeffrey Simpson: Slow growth now, no growth later - The Globe and Mail
Slow growth now, no growth later
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 13,2016

The population is aging. Commodity prices are low. Oil and natural gas prices are hitting rock-bottom. The Canadian dollar has plummeted. Most governments are in deficit, or heading into deficit (read Ottawa). Innovation and the commercialization of research lag that of other countries. Productivity, the country’s long-term bugbear, remains sluggish....all the green traffic signals have turned to yellow or red. Yet this slow-growth economy, which might persist for a long time, is wrapped in a political culture that seems to favour slow or no growth, or seems to think that government infrastructure programs, useful in themselves, will solve the long-run problems.....Everywhere, projects are blocked or delayed, because environmentalists, aboriginal people, non-governmental organizations or even provincial governments oppose them....Many of these blocked or delayed projects with large-scale economic spinoffs are natural resource projects, which the federal government says might be saved with more “robust” oversight. The government is kidding itself in this belief, since the opponents don’t care what the regulatory process is. They oppose development pure, simple and always.

Far beyond natural resource constipation, the contradiction arises between slow growth and the huge desire of citizens for more government services, without higher taxes. Of special concern is Canada’s persistent low productivity, to which no easy answer exists, except that a slow-growth mentality doesn’t help.

...Don Drummond, working with Evan Capeluck, recently explained the challenge in a paper for the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, which looked at productivity trends in all provinces. Projecting these trends forward, they said most provinces and territories will not be able to balance revenue growth with new spending demands (especially for health care) without higher taxes or spending cuts.

Put another way, unless long-term growth can be improved – a trend that will require productivity improvements – Canada is heading for a poorer future with fewer programs and/or higher taxes.
growth  Jeffrey_Simpson  economic_downturn  anti-development  natural_resources  economic_stagnation  megaprojects  productivity  Don_Drummond  slow_growth  low_growth  weak_dollar  signals 
january 2016 by jerryking
Governments need to deliver big infrastructure projects honestly - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Mar. 09 2015

Why do big projects like these so often go over time and over budget? Ryerson University professor Murtaza Haider says that delays and overruns on megaprojects are common all over the world. Proponents of big projects consistently low-ball the cost for fear that the sticker shock might prevent them from ever getting built. “It is a very serious issue that goes to the heart of the credibility of all those who are building the infrastructure,” he says.

The hitches with the Spadina line are especially serious for a city such as Toronto that must spend billions to renew and build out its infrastructure. “If this is the norm, we have a problem,” says Prof. Haider.

Yes, we do. The dynamic at work here is universal and troubling. A government that announces a big, expensive project is loath to admit that things have gone wrong and that it is spending more public money than it said it would.

Instead, it grabs any opportunity to boast about how great the project is and how well it is going. Rather than being a monitor, it turns into a cheerleader.
Marcus_Gee  transit  infrastructure  cost_overruns  Toronto  truth-telling  honesty  megaprojects  normalization 
march 2015 by jerryking

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