A controversial P3 rapid transit link is going ahead in Vancouver and it will cost taxpayers and transit users dearly, says CUPE BC.
The winning bid for the on-again, off-again RAV line came from a consortium headed by SNC-Lavalin. The bid triggered some fancy footwork, as it was more than $340 million over the transit authoritys budget. Scope changes and financing initiatives brought the cost down, as did transferring $70 million in costs to Vancouver residents.
The project has been plagued by exorbitant costs, intolerable secrecy, and excessive public risk in covering cost overruns. An independent analysis of the RAV lines financing scheme questioned whether it was the cheapest way to build the line. Lewis Auerbach also questioned whether the B.C. government was trying to hide the true cost of the project.
Yet the provincial Liberals were prepared to push the P3 through at any cost. A cabinet document leaked in October exposed federal and provincial Liberal plans to mislead the public about the source of funds for the RAV line. The leaked document proposed that the federal government tell the public that an additional $150 million in federal money was earmarked for the 2010 Olympics, even though it would be spent on the P3 and came from a federal infrastructure fund.