EDMONTON—On Friday the federal government announced $1.53 billion for Calgary’s Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) project through PPP Canada Inc., which provides funding to projects via public-private partnerships (P3s).“This announcement seems to be a continuation of the federal government’s ‘Christmas in July’ pre-election theme,” says Joel French, Director of Communications and Campaigns for Public Interest Alberta. “The sudden spending announcements across the country merely highlight the total inadequacy of funding for public projects in non-election years. Rather than reducing our cities to the role of simply hoping for electioneering handouts, we absolutely must fund our urban centres in ways that will allow them to meet the growing needs of city residents in a fair, just and sustainable manner. ”
In 2012 Public Interest Alberta was part of a campaign called OurLRT, which raised serious concerns surrounding the P3 funding model being used for Edmonton’s Valley LRT line.
“We are concerned the same problems we see in Edmonton will now be coming to Calgary,” says Larry Booi, President of Public Interest Alberta. “The process in Edmonton has been shrouded in secrecy, to the point where even City Councillors have been limited in the information they have access to regarding the new LRT line. The federal government is strong-arming civic governments into a completely misguided process, which will result in our transit system being run by private corporations instead of being in the hands of a democratically-elected government. It is a process based on the ideology of privatization rather than on meeting the enormous and legitimate needs of our cities, and it will continue until we have a government with a very different set of values.”- 30 -