The governments play a very crucial role in planning and investing in urban infrastructure. The urban infrastructure development is a form of measure on how the government is committed. In many cases, the decision of infrastructure development is divided on the different government organs. The government has a role to provide funds in order meet the entire requirement in the budget. Most of the urban infrastructure development is done by the local government. They are the one responsible for the planning, renewal and repairs.
The local government levee charges from the public to provide the required services in the cities. They are responsible for improving the transport sector; ensure that all buildings are building according to the laid plans. In addition to that, the local government is responsible in ensuring proper drainage in the cities, and the public is provided with reliable sources of energy.
Cities are developing at a faster rate because of increase in population in urban centers. Toronto being on a strategic place and being the third largest city it has increased its population significantly (Berridge, 2009). The government supply in services delivery is surpassed by the increase in demand, therefore; the government is increasing infrastructure development to meet the deficit.
Toronto has been considered as one of the economic engines of the country. Investing in the cities will benefit all Canadians. The government should have their priorities right while laying their strategy. In Toronto, what is needed is for the government to modernize on the transportation infrastructure. This is very vital because it touches the lives of every person in the city. Transportation enables the economy of the city to thrive, and thus widen the tax base since all the imports in the city will have to be charges (Berridge, 2009). The local government to will share the cost with the stakeholders to increase infrastructures in the city.
Infrastructure development has significantly decreased this is happening because there is no adequate plan on the maintenance. Close to fifty percent of all publicly owned infrastructures support is not working. The federal government is responsible for telecommunications, interprovincial and international transportation and trade, for example, highways, ports, airports, and investment, including highways and local public works.
Categories of public assets
The public assets fall under the following equipment, water supply, sanitary systems, and wastewater treatment.
These assets are very critical and contribute a significant percentage towards the urban growth.
Public facilities: These refers to the group of assets and are buildings that serve broader daily needs of residents, such as hospital, libraries, schools, fire halls, and solid waste processing facilities.
Public Amenities are another form of urban infrastructure, and they make life comfortable for residents, such as parks, public squares, and water fountains.
Toronto is one of the most urbanized cities with 67% of the total population being is located in the city. Most of the Canada populations live in Toronto because of the business opportunities in the city.
Much of urban infrastructure development had already taken place in 1960s this shows how serious signs of aging and deterioration. In addition, to exacerbate this situation, the population growth in urban centers continues to increase (Rijsberman, 2000). As a result, engineers are faced not only with the problems of infrastructure rehabilitation but also with an increase in demand for infrastructure development. On 1 January 1988, the regional municipality of Toronto was amalgamated to the North York forming Toronto city. The city covers an area of 620 km making it to be the largest city after Mexico. The city of Toronto region urban infrastructure consists of water supply, sewage treatment facilities, and roads.
Toronto has been ranked as the city with the largest public transit system after New York City and Mexico (Rijsberman, 2000). The largest public transit system is the Go Transit, and this facilitates the movement of people from in and out of the city. I addition to that the city has two airports service; the city is services by Lake Ontario. The following are the facts in Toronto: There are 9520 different streets covering 27.4 percent of the city’s area, and 31,160 street intersections in Toronto (Rijsberman, 2000). The city has one of its busiest transit established in 1968 the city is served via rail, the network that provides all rail services throughout Canada. It has the largest continuous underground pedestrian system path. This connects approximately 1200 stores and restaurants, over 50 buildings tower, subway stations and several entertainment centers. The city is well connected to making it have the best telecommunication infrastructure and digital switch.
The water and wastewater service division in Toronto is responsible for all aspects of urban water system. The division treats, pumps, transmits, and stores potable water to supply all industries, commercial, institutional, and residential water users in the city.
The water supply infrastructure system includes four flirtation plants, eighteen pumping stations, tem major ground level storage reservoirs, four level elevated storage tanks, 471 km of trunk water mains, and over 5000km of distribution mains. The wastewater collection, transportation, and treatment infrastructure include four wastewater treatment plants. Approximately half of the average daily flow is 1302 ml daily (Rijsberman, 2000).
The water, wastewater operations and water pollution control section are responsible for issues related to operations, maintenance, and inspection of the wastewater system.
The city of Toronto water and wastewater pipes were laid to support the growth cycle of the 1890s, 1920s and 1950s. As a result, some of the water and wastewater infrastructure have been in service for more than 100 years. As of 2001, more than 7% of Toronto’s water distribution system is older than 100 years. Population increase has been a major drive behind increased total annual water consumption until 1990 (White, 2003). The city grew physically and demographically upwards from Lake Ontario after annexation of area municipalities began.
The land developers exerted undue influence on the location of physical services, but in the 1950s there was very little sign of any influence. Toronto was defined in 1954 it was widely understood that the entire area within the boundary was going to be urban, and those services could eventually be provided everywhere. Toronto planning Broad, which has to approve all proposed subdivision, did occasionally withhold approval because physical services were not in place, but division within the boundaries was dele. The sewer system was to be organized by river watershed and the water system by altitude above the lake, during the precise locations of the reservoirs, mains, trunks, and pumping stations would be determined by matters such as the cost of the land.
The local government is responsible for Water treatment and distribution, and sewage. Storm water is so fundamental to city’s resident, and it would be very difficult to operate without them. For example, it helps prevent the spread of communicable diseases
- Aid in water conservation by reducing water leakages from the systems
- Reduce the impact of large weather events
- Help and prevents degradation of water resources
- Help recharge local aquifer
The appropriate community fire suppression system which saves lives and reduce fire related incidences.
Lower density land use the sprawl of residential zones and places of employment fosters increases automobile use.
The importance of investing in Urban Transportation
In Toronto, more than $ 157.3 billion is publicly owned infrastructure the roads, mass transit, water supplies, wastewater treatment facilities. This has been a tangible impact on the productivity and economic performance of Toronto. Public infrastructure lowers the cost of doing business thus increasing the level of output in the industries (White, 2003).
Urban transportation is vital in urban centers, the prosperity of the economy, and our environmental, social well being, communicates across Toronto are working to deliver the best transportation system possible. From a common vision for urban transportation expresses in the recent survey include:
The urban transport task force aims at providing safe, efficient, effective transportation system, for goods and people. Toronto’s improved transportation and trade corridors have made it possible in improving transit services.
Impact of Urban infrastructure in Toronto
Urban infrastructure has been growing tremendously, and it has diverse effects on the people of Toronto. The government is advised to increase its funding to improving and increasing infrastructure in the city. The proposed modern infrastructure will cost the government billions of dollars. It is advised to bring in the private investors who will help in reducing the cost by contributing a significant amount of money. The government has been advised to look into various alternative of raising its revenue. The city will be considered to be developed if it meets nightly percent of the public demand. That is ensuring there is affordable public transportation system there are job opportunities, the residents are provided with proper houses, and there is an easy flow of traffic (Urban Development Institute (Canada), 2010).
Toronto has tried to distribute its resources fairly and equally among its population. It is required to support infrastructures such as transport, water, and energy. With reliable sources of energy, it will be easy for the city to attract more investors, and, as a result, more job opportunities will be created. The government should also have a proper policy and implement rules to the investors, more so on the manufacturers. This should focus on the rate of carbon dioxide emitted from the factories and the dumping sites. To, encourage less emission of these gases, only those who comply with the rules should be allowed to operate. The vehicles driving on the roads especially the heavy trucks should be weighed to ensure they carry according to their capacity, if this measures are implemented it will be easy to maintain the highways.
Benefits of urban infrastructure to its community at large
The backbone to any economy in the world is built on infrastructure development. This helps in solving simple issues such as efficient movement of goods and people reducing the time on traffic. It helps in providing essential services thus making life easy.
The prosperity of the economy and social well being, communities across Toronto is working to deliver the best transport system. An appropriate system of a well maintained roads and transit can provide:
Health and safety benefits:
Well maintained roads will support efficient of police, fire and other emergencies thus reducing the damage.
Reduction in the rate of carbon dioxide will improve the health standards of the residents in the city. It is upon the government to ensure rules are in place to regulate the rate of carbon emission.
- Well maintained infrastructure will help in supporting the economic development and resulting in job creation.
- It will contribute to reducing transportation making it affordable to every resident.
- It will improve the local companies making it easier for them to compete.
- With an established infrastructure, it allows more efficient productivity system that can take advantage of economies of scale, specialization, and agglomeration and trade.
- It will help in providing links to national and international centers of knowledge
- Increases market competition, by reducing the markup of prices over marginal costs that in turn can help customers look for better buys.
- A well maintained road network will reduce congestion which in turn can reduce vehicle emission and air pollution thus reducing driver’s stress.
Social and cultural benefits:
- A well maintained infrastructure helps the community to serve an aging population better.
- The facility will give residents access to more community facilities such as entertainment, food, recreation and cultural facilities to attract wider audiences.
Berridge, J. Canadian Urban Institute., & Urban Strategies Inc. (2009). Reinvesting in Toronto: What the competition is doing. Toronto: Canadian Urban Institute
Rijsberman, M (2000) Different approaches to assessment of design and management of sustainable urban water systems. Environmental impact Assessment review, 20
White, R. (2003). Urban infrastructure and urban growth in the Toronto region, 1950's to the 1990's. Toronto: Neptis Foundation.
Urban Development Institute (Canada). (2010). The Greater Toronto area outlook, year 2011: Growth in the Greater Toronto area and the necessity for infrastructure commitments. Ontario: Urban Development Institute.