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QUEEN’S PARK – Mike Schreiner, MPP for Guelph, released the following statement in response to the new report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario on the cost of climate change impacts on public transportation infrastructure.

“We are in a climate emergency that is costing Ontario billions of dollars each year. And it will get worse if we don’t act.

A few days after the government made a climate denier their key witness in a lawsuit launched against them for failing to have a real climate plan, the FAO has again reported that not only is climate change real, but it is costing us billions.

I asked the FAO to prepare this report because the people of Ontario deserve to know the costs and risks of the climate crisis.

If doing the right thing won’t get the government to act, my hope is that money will.

Today’s FAO report lays out the massive repair bill that is coming due right now, unless the government acts urgently to make public transportation and other infrastructure climate-ready.

The FAO’s analysis is that climate-related costs to maintain transportation infrastructure alone will total $14 billion by 2030. That is on top of the $6 billion that a previous FAO report estimated it will cost to maintain public buildings over the rest of this decade.

Ontario’s provincial and municipal transportation infrastructure was not built to withstand the extreme weather – rainfall, heat and changing freeze-thaw cycles  – now occurring with increasing frequency as the climate crisis deepens, resulting in additional costs of $171 to $332 billion this century if we don’t act.

That is why I am calling on the Ontario government to:

  • Implement a real climate plan to reduce pollution by half this decade;  
  • Create a dedicated adaptation fund to make Ontario’s public infrastructure climate ready;
  • Cancel expensive Greenbelt highways like 413 and the Bradford Bypass that increase climate risks and climate pollution.

It is morally and fiscally irresponsible for the government to refuse to address or adapt to climate change in any meaningful way. It will hurt our pocketbooks and our kids’ futures.

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