This week the British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) posted an advocacy piece online in hopes that it would foster discussion around much needed infrastructure investment in BC. BCTIA president Pascal Spothelfer penned the article titled Infrastructure Investment and Economic Stimulus: Thinking Outside the Bricks and Mortar Box.
So far British Columbia has not been hit as hard by the economic downturn than other areas in the world, but illiquid credit markets, dropping real estate values, diminishing construction activity, a battered forestry sector and the drastic drop in commodity prices promise difficult times ahead.
Thanks to the fiscal discipline and resulting surpluses both federally and provincially, governments of both levels have the flexibility and means to invest counter-cyclically and have declared their intention to do so through infrastructure investments and other measures.
Infrastructure investments in times of economic downturns make sense: they mitigate the negative effects of the downturn, allow governments to take advantage of competitive pricing and afford the long term benefit of a modernized, better infrastructure. These investments can also position the economy to come out of the downturn stronger, more productive and more competitive.
However, we have to think beyond the traditional understanding of infrastructure that includes roads, bridges and buildings. In the 21st century our information technologies and communications infrastructure is equally important. Inefficiencies in computer and communications networks may be less visible than road congestion and pot holes, but they are as damaging to the smooth functioning of our infrastructure.
Hear over to the BCTIA site to read the rest of the article and feel free to comment here for everyone to see or send your comments directly to Spothelfer and his team.