February 24, 2019

We Should Stop Paying For Over-Budget Infrastructure Projects

By admin

From The Untouchables …

ln Roman times, when a fellow tried to bribe a public official, they would cut off his nose, sew him in a bag with a wild animal, and throw that bag in the river. You tell your master that we must agree to…disagree!

As barbaric as they seem, we should revisit these ‘guidelines’ set out so long ago because here’s what currently happens:

  • An ‘opportunity’ comes up (after heavy lobbying by industry).
  • Governments agree to spend public money.
  • Budgets will be strictly adhered to.
  • They aren’t.
  • Budgets explode in size and degree of complication.
  • Public gets rammed between a rock and a hard place.
  • Private contractors literally steal from the public purse.
  • Repeat.

This is how it’s done over and over and over again.

The latest story is from Ottawa and their public transit project, where the cost of Light Rail Transit (LRT) system has taken a serious turn for the worse, costing Canada’s capital another billion … or so.

London, Ontario has also recently committed to a massive bus transit overhaul using tech and services based on century-old thinking, again at the behest of special interest groups. Despite reassurances, this project will cost the city dearly, both financially and in terms of social and economic attractiveness.

Any other city facing these kind of choices should think again and give in to the gut response from their taxpayers.

My question is: with all of the lawyers in the world protecting clients, how come there are NONE out there that seek to write agreements with winning contractors to ensure that (a) governments don’t bite off more than they can chew and (b) commitments are non-existent until cost over-run protections can be put in place?

And why is there no legislated transparency with contracts? To hell with proprietary information and shareholder protections.

If you want to do business with the government, you have to be clear, concrete and transparent from the get go. And be prepared to have contracts put out to tender again if you screw so badly as to make it look like a 3-year old could run things better.

I’m sick of it. Shuffling billions from many to a few is a recipe for disaster!!  This is the ‘dark money’ that’s robbing the public of billions and billions, day in, day out.

It must stop.