BURNABY, BC, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - The Canadian Union of Public Employees, the
union that represents SkyTrain workers and supervisors, is urging the public
to insist the Evergreen Line project be operated by the public.
"Both international experience as well as the experience we have had in
BC with privatized transportation systems has been abysmal," says CUPE BC
president Barry O'Neill in response to transportation minister Falcon's
announcement of plans for a private Evergreen Line.
"The publicly operated Millenium Line, on the other hand, was built
on-time and under-budget with future operating revenues going back into public
hands. That's what I would call a model." The Millenium Line came in at
$63 million less than the approved budget of $1.167 billion.
O'Neill urges decision makers and the public to review the many studies
(examples below) that have been done showing that privately-operated
transportation systems cost taxpayers more in the long-run, lack
accountability and have the potential to leave the public "holding the bag" if
the system isn't deemed profitable enough.
A prime example is the collapse of London's Metronet consortium (UK)
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6992811.stm) in the fall of 2007 when the
regulator denied additional public money to completely cover the consortium's
cost overruns. In this case, the risk reverted back to the public at a cost of
approximately 4 billion Canadian dollars, left to be borne by Greater London
The BBC reported that the collapse "raised questions about the viability
of public-private partnerships."
The Evergreen Line was initially approved by the TransLink Board, in
principle, in October 2004. In a May 2007 Community Update
df), TransLink admits that one of the factors that has caused a delay in the
project is "the analysis (with Partnerships BC) of potential opportunities to
deliver the Evergreen Line through a public/private partnership".
In the meantime, costs have gone up to $1.4 billion dollars and the
long-awaited and needed project has been delayed until 2014 (it was originally
supposed to be completed by 2009).
CUPE represents almost 1,000 transportation workers in British Columbia,
including 700 Skytrain workers and supervisors.
P3 Studies: http://www.cupe.bc.ca/4415
For further information:
For further information: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC president, (604)
340-6768; Gerry Cunningham, CUPE 7000 president, (604) 219-9844; Diane Kalen,
CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258