Maryland, Ontario to tie up for infra

The governments of Maryland and Ontario have entered talks to commit to strengthening trade, infrastructure and economic ties.

The announcement came after Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Governor of Maryland and Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), Larry Hogan, Maryland Secretary of Commerce, Kelly Schulz, and Laurie Scott, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure met in Annapolis. 

“By expanding trade and exploring ways to further economic development with our partners in the United States, we will help businesses grow and create jobs on both sides of the border,” a joint statement read.

“The close ties between Ontario and Maryland, and Canada and the US as a whole, allow for greater cooperation when partnering on large-scale infrastructure projects.”

The discussion included the upcoming NGA Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. in February 2020 and the planned NGA Study Tour to Toronto in April 2020. Ontario is investing CAD144bn over the next decade in strategic infrastructure projects, including making the single largest capital investment in new subway builds in Canadian history.

Ford said Ontario  are prepared to work with Hogan and political leaders across North America to solve these pressing challenges and modernize infrastructure in ways that will grow our economy, create jobs, and meet the needs of the 21st century. 

Meanwhile, Hogan will also re-introduce the Building Opportunity Act, which provides a record USD3.8bn for school construction funding over five years.

“This is the largest investment in school construction ever in Maryland history,” he said. 

“Last year, we introduced record funding for school construction legislation, but the legislature failed to support it. We are pleased that they now seem to agree with us on the need to provide local school systems, and most importantly our students, with the healthy, efficient, heated, air-conditioned, and modern school buildings that they deserve.”

New funding for this initiative will come from a share of casino revenues in the education lockbox, which Governor Hogan pushed for and enacted to ensure that an additional USD4.4bn in funding would go toward K-12 education.

The Building Opportunity Act provides funding to cover all of the projects currently requested by local school systems. The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) is conducting a statewide school facilities assessment to better evaluate local requests. The legislation will give the Maryland Stadium Authority oversight of these additional school construction funds and includes accountability measures.