Public Values

International consortium short on cash for BC public infrastructure project

Private toll-bridge partners ask Victoria for more time — again.

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon is still believes in private funding for public propertyJanuary 15, 2009 — The private consortium chosen as the best suited to twin the Port Mann Bridge is struggling to raise money for the project, and has told the BC government it needs more time before it can finalize a deal.

The deal — a public-private partnership or P3 — was supposed to be completed earlier this month, but on Wednesday, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon confirmed the deadline has been extended to early February.

"Obviously, it's a difficult market out there," Falcon said, referring to constraints in the global credit market.

However, he said he remained confident the deal will go ahead.

"What they tell us is, they remain confident that they can pull it together, but they needed more time," he said.

The project to twin the Port Mann bridge is already behind schedule, as construction was initially supposed to start last fall.

Under the proposed arrangement, the consortium would build the bridge and widen parts of Highway 1, and then be paid through tolls after everything is complete.

The consortium chosen to enter final negotiations was selected in August. Called Connect BC Development Group, it includes Australian-based Macquarie Group, an international toll road operator and investor.

But Macquarie, which operates more than 30 roads worldwide, has been hit hard by the financial meltdown. . .

To read further . . .

Privatization vs. Public Values Frame
  Private investors work faster, take risks / Private funding unstable, unreliable

Links and sources
  Port Mann Bridge financing thrown into question, by Jonathan Fowlie and Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun, January 15 2009

Posted: January 21, 2009

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