September 11th, 2019

P3 highways more costly, less transparent

Halifax-- The Public Accounts committee heard today that the government is keeping a request for proposals (RFP) secret while working with bidders to complete the process for getting bids on the section of Highway 104 that is set to be twinned.

“The P3 model hasn’t worked for hospitals, schools, or highways. We will spend more on a project we could have built ourselves,” said NDP Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “If there’s a reason that makes sense to go with a P3 for this highway, other than to give away taxpayer money to wealthy corporations, the Liberal government certainly hasn’t shown us what it is.”

This specific section of Highway 104 could cost as much as $120 million more through a P3 contract than with a traditional build. The benefit to the community in training and good paying jobs is also higher with a traditional build than in a public-private-partnership.

“The Public Accounts Committee is where MLAs are supposed to be able to review government plans and get answers on important financial issues. This meeting should have been a chance to get answers on using P3s to build our highways, the Liberal government’s refusal to answer questions is unacceptable,” said NDP Member of the committee, Lisa Roberts.

The McNeil Liberals are also signing P3 deals for the QEII hospital redevelopment and two health centres in Cape Breton.