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  • CCPA's National Office has moved! May 11, 2018
      The week of May 1st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' National Office moved to 141 Laurier Ave W, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON, K1P 5J2. Please note that our phone, fax and general e-mail will remain the same: Telephone: 613-563-1341 | Fax: 613-233-1458 | Email: ccpa@policyalternatives.ca  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
    As Metro Vancouver’s population has grown, so have its traffic congestion problems. Whether it’s a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Mobility pricing is seen as a solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges with […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Budget 2018: The Most Disappointing Budget Ever March 14, 2018
    Premier Pallister’s Trump-esque statement that budget 2018 was going to be the “best budget ever” has fallen a bit flat. Instead of a bold plan to deal with climate change, poverty and our crumbling infrastructure, we are presented with two alarmist scenarios to justify further tax cuts and a lack of decisive action: the recent […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Regina Hosed by P3 Waste Water

Regina City Council has voted to proceed with a 30-year public-private partnership (P3) in which a private company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the city’s new waste water treatment facility.

The municipal administration’s rationale has been that, although a P3 will be more expensive than traditional public financing, it is required to access federal money from the P3 Canada Fund.

However, Hugh Mackenzie’s recent analysis concludes that the additional costs of a P3 would actually exceed the full value of the federal grant. As my dad noted with the following letter in Saturday’s Regina Leader-Post, that means this federal “infrastructure” funding is not helping to pay for the infrastructure but is simply being transferred to private financiers.

P3s wrong model

Your May 7 article (Project ‘doesn’t make any sense’: economist), states: “Proceeding with a public private partnership (P3) to upgrade the city’s waste water treatment plant is going to cost Regina taxpayers $60 million more than if the city paid for the project itself.”

Economist Hugh Mackenzie’s study also concluded that even after subtracting the expected federal funding, the P3 model would still be more expensive.

P3s are very costly. In essence, the city is hiring a private operator to borrow money to finance part of the plant.

The private partner must pay higher interest rates to borrow than the city and will expect to make a profit each and every year. In addition, the costs to structure a complex P3 deal are substantially more than the costs of straightforward public borrowing.

The city claims the only available federal funding requires a P3 model. Without P3 strings attached, the proposed $50 million federal contribution could be used to reduce the cost of our $200-million wastewater plant to $150 million.

With a P3, the $50-million federal grant will not be used to reduce the cost of the project to citizens of Regina. It will be misused to pay the higher private interest charges, the profit demanded by the private partner and the higher P3 deal structuring charges – enriching bankers, lawyers and financiers.

The Harper government should help fund infrastructure. But requiring the P3 model squanders our tax dollars to support their friends in business.

David Weir, Regina

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