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VANCOUVER CUPE is questioning the legality of a move today by the chair of the Greater Vancouver regional district board to ram through a public-private deal for the Richmond-airport-Vancouver rapid transit line.

GVRD chair Marvin Hunt ruled out a bid at todays GVRD meeting for a separate request for proposals that would put out to private tender the design/build portion of the project.

This foils any chance of a publicly operated RAV line, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said. We are questioning the legality of the chairs rejecting a chance to show the public what the line would cost if it was designed and built privately, but operated publicly.

They clearly dont want a public discussion about options to the full privatization of this line, he added. The provincial government has said ram it through. Forget public input. Privatize it.

Whatever happened to political due diligence? ONeill asked. The same Mr. Hunt was behind plans to privatize the Capilano filtration plant last year. He finally relented when the public flooded him with the message that they didnt want their water privatized. Now hes back at it again, slapping democracy across the face and stifling public discussion.

ONeill and others are concerned that if the RAV line is privatized the public will lose control of the entire Lower Mainland rapid transit system.

CUPE Local 7000 members share that concern. They run and maintain Skytrain as a safe and efficient public rapid transit system. They are concerned that the RAV line P3 will give a private firm total control over the next 35 years.

It will inevitably mean cost increases and possibly safety risks that are not there with a public system, Local 7000 spokesperson Gerry Cunningham said at the GVRD meeting.


Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President, 604-916-8444.

Also, see www.cupe.bc.ca for a copy of Public Derailment?, in which CUPE argues against the proposed P3.