Building the Future: Issues in Public Infrastructure in Canada


224 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88806-531-0
DDC 338.971




Edited by Aidan R. Vining and John Richards
Reviewed by Joseph Garcea

Joseph Garcea is a professor of political Studies at the University of


Building the Future is a clarion call to governments and citizens to
think more closely and seriously about public infrastructure. Among the
many contributions of this book is its broad conceptualization of
infrastructure beyond the traditional notions that include only physical
facilities such as roads and various types of transportation ports,
utilities such as water and electricity, and communication systems such
as the various parts of the information highway. The editors maintain
that this concept of infrastructure should be broadened to include human
capital because, in their words, “general purpose education and
training are as important as investments in airports and highways.
Indeed, the quality of a country’s aggregate human capital, rather
than its physical facilities and machinery, is probably the primary
determinant of economic growth.”

An excellent introductory chapter provides a conceptual framework for
analyzing infrastructure. Subsequent chapters deal with the level and
profile of various types of infrastructure in Canada since 1960, the
effects of expenditures on transportation infrastructure for regional
economic growth, the challenges of selecting an appropriate discount
rate for assessing and making decisions on infrastructure, criteria for
infrastructure investments, and policies related to the information
highway infrastructure.

Although parts of the book are suitable for the layperson, other parts
are aimed at readers who have a strong grounding in policy/program
evaluation and economic analysis.


“Building the Future: Issues in Public Infrastructure in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,