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Edmonton – All three Tory candidates seeking to replace Alison Redford as premier are firmly on board with mass transit as a priority; however, Jim Prentice, Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver cannot unanimously agree on a method of funding. 

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts said, “It is good to see that the candidates are embracing LRT, but are seemingly short-sighted on how it will be funded.” 

“If they move forward with a public-private partnership or P3 to fund LRT construction, it will only end up costing tax payers more in the end,” Roberts said. 

For instance, in 2003, the U.K. government began the privatization of the London Underground. The multi-billion pound P3 was fatally flawed from the start as it kept public sector ownership, but gave private entities control over the system. It cost more than £500 million in consultant fees to set up the P3, which was originally signed for a 30-year period.

The contracts for P3 have changed numerous times since being established in 2003. In 2007, Metronet went bankrupt and was absorbed by Transport for London (TfL), who was forced to pay £1.7 billion in borrowing, of which the taxpayer lost £410 million. In 2010, Tube Lines was bought by TfL, which held the remaining third of contracts. This subsequently ended the P3, less than a third of the way into a 30-year commitment.

“The facts speak for themselves. We need to learn from past mistakes and do better for the residents of Alberta,” Roberts said. 

Naomi Mison, CUPE communications representative