Posted tagged ‘Marvin Shaffer’

Flawed analysis props up B.C. public-private partnerships

November 23, 2009

The Straight

By Marvin Shaffer

Many will have heard Premier Gordon Campbell and his cabinet colleagues talk in glowing terms about public-private partnerships (P3s) for major projects like hospitals, highways, bridges, and sewage treatment.

Traditionally, governments borrow money for things like hospitals and bridges. They use that money to pay the private sector to design and build the projects. Once built, the facility or infrastructure is wholly owned, operated, and maintained by government on behalf of the public.

In P3 projects, however, the government typically enters into multi-decade contracts with private corporations to design, build, finance, and operate facilities, whether that be hospitals, toll highways, or sewage treatment systems. Rather than financing and operating these facilities, the government effectively leases them from the private partner, paying for the right to use them over the life of the contracts.