Metrolinx Toys With 3Ps

The Toronto Star reports that Metrolinx is considering the private sector option for delivery of some or all of the Eglinton LRT project.  This is not much of a surprise given that Queen’s Park has an entire Ministry, Infrastructure Ontario, dedicated to building stuff, and their standard delivery model is a partnership with the private sector.

Advocates and opponents of public-private-partnerships often take extreme views that these schemes are either the saviour of government services, or evil works meant to transfer control (and money) of vital projects from public to private hands.  The devil, as they say, is in the details.

Every project the TTC or Metrolinx undertakes has a large private sector component:  engineering, construction, provision of materials.  Delays and cost overruns can arise from poor planning and design, some of it carried out by those same private sector engineers, or from contractors who view changes and delays as a potential source of profit.  They can also come from a client who can’t make up its mind and changes requirements as the project unfolds.

Continue reading