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Report confirms Wildrose position on P3 debt financing

EDMONTON, AB (February 24, 2014): The PC government should take heed of an internal departmental report blasting the government’s stubborn commitment to P3s for building new school projects, Wildrose Infrastructure Critic Drew Barnes said today. 

The Deloitte report, produced internally for Alberta Infrastructure, found that the 19 schools put out for procurement on a Design-Build-Finance-Maintain P3 model are not getting contractor interest because the project is too big. Barnes said Wildrose has been advocating in favor of manageable and competitive design-bid-build and design-build contracts over non-competitive, P3 build contracts for months. “This report makes recommendations matching exactly what the Wildrose Official Opposition has proposed and it actually comes from inside the government,” Barnes said. “The PCs need to quit playing politics with infrastructure and listen to what the experts are saying. Their stubbornness is costing Albertans. ” In 2013, the Wildrose published an infrastructure report called A Better Way to Build Alberta, which resulted from meetings with stakeholders across the province. Barnes stressed the significance of the Wildrose report’s third and fourth recommendations, which were to employ the traditional Design-Bid-Build and more Design-Build methods of infrastructure procurement in cases like this, and to end the debt-financing of P3s. Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said the PCs’ love affair with non-competitive P3 contracts is resulting in record level over-crowding in Alberta schools. “Albertans need schools now, built on time and on cost,” McAllister said. “To do that, we need to restructure these P3 projects so that small and medium-sized builders can get involved. The PCs are getting really good at making announcements and putting up signs, but they’re not getting shovels in the ground.”