Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Municipalities have been talking about the infrastructure deficit for quite a while now. I kind of have a suspicion that the term might only mean something to politicians. What it means in real day to day terms is that local governments like cities don't have the money to build, fix, or maintain the "stuff" that you expect in a community.
If you imagine the suff you or your family use on a day to day basis as you go about your life you're probably thinking about municipal infrastructure. You know, things like the roads you drive on, the arenas your kids play hockey in, the water lines that flow to your house or even the parks you take the dog to. That's all municipal infrastructure.
Combine all the taxes you pay in life, property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, everything. Only about 7% of that total goes to local governments. To put it a different way, out of every dollar collected in taxes in Canada only 7¢ goes to municipalities to provide the things you use daily.
It's no wonder that cities are having a tough time keeping up. The picture above is from Fort Nelson in the Northern Rockies Regional District in BC. I'm sure their arena was well maintained and this was a freak thing but I haven't ever seen a better example of crumbling infrastructure. Oh, wait a minute ... yes I have, here.
So, now both of these municipalities have to figure out how to pay to rebuild and repair their crumbled facilities, using just 7¢ of your tax dollars. That's the infrastructure deficit.