BURNABY The B.C. Liberals are holding taxpayers and local governments hostage by insisting that $300 million in provincial funding for the RAV rapid transit line is contingent on a private company operating it.
They are using public money to push a private line down our throats, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said. This is yet another broken promise from a morally bankrupt government.
The Liberals had promised a fair and unbiased assessment of the public and private options for the proposed Richmond-Airport-Vancouver line. But the funding announcement comes before a public sector comparator study has been completed. The study will compare the cost of public vs. private options for operating the RAV.
CUPE workers operate the existing lines as part of the public transportation system. Since the opening of Skytrain in 1986, repeated assessments have shown that running the lines publicly is cheaper.
Instead of giving the public sector comparator process a chance, the Liberals have again denied the publics right to know the facts before spending a huge chunk of B.C. taxpayers money, ONeill said.
The premature decision to fund only a private line shows that the Liberals want to impose their privatization agenda no matter what the cost, he added.
The announcement also said the money would be in 2003 dollars. Yet when the provincial budget was brought down, the deputy finance minister told CUPE that the government would not spend any money on the RAV until 2007.
Is someone asleep at the switch or are we seeing another BC Rail fiasco unfold? ONeill asked. What other bad news awaits a public that is growing more frustrated and concerned each day?
Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, 604-828-7668,
Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President, 604-916-8444.