The president of CUPE Nova Scotia, Danny Cavanagh, says taxpayers should be very concerned that the government is looking to build a private highway.
“We’ve just seen one of the biggest boondoggles ever in New Brunswick where the government privatized a section of the TransCanada,” says Cavanagh. “That deal netted more than a billion dollars for the private developer over and above costs. In addition, the private operator is charging almost $3 million more per year to maintain the road than if the work were carried out by CUPE highway crews.”
A detailed study by the New Brunswick auditor general exposed the Fredericton-to-Moncton highway deal as little more than an expensive debt-hiding exercise.
Cavanagh questions the government’s logic in hiring a blatantly pro-P3 company to evaluate public projects. “Partnerships BC has a mandate to both promote P3s as well as evaluate their appropriateness for public projects,” Cavanagh asserts. “They cannot possibly protect the public interest with that kind of conflict of interest.
“Contrary to what the government says, Partnerships BC did not give sound advice in British Columbia,” he adds. “For instance, the Sea-to-Sky highway project in BC will cost taxpayers $220 million more than if the government had used traditional financing and procurement processes.”
The union leader says he is having trouble understanding why Rodney MacDonald would want to build a private highway when for years private contractors have traditionally built highways and then turned them over to the province.
“There are many reasons why we as taxpayers must oppose public-private-partnerships,” says Cavanagh. “First and foremost are our concerns about quality, access and safety when it comes to our highways. Secondly, P3s cost more because private investors require a profit, and we don’t think Nova Scotians want to finance the profits of large corporations. And lastly, public-private deals place good jobs in jeopardy which hurts families and our communities.
“Clearly the government is heading down a very slippery slope if it continues to take advice from Partnerships BC, “Cavanagh concludes. “Private highways are just highway robbery.”
For further information please call Danny Cavanagh, 902-957-0822