MASSE COMDEMNS MINISTER FOR ‘P3’ OPTION FOR NEW BRIDGE: No need for new “Border tax” and more bureaucracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2007

MASSE COMDEMNS MINISTER FOR ‘P3’ OPTION FOR NEW BRIDGE:
No need for new “Border tax” and more bureaucracy

Windsor, ON- Today Brian Masse, Member of Parliament for Windsor West and Transport, Auto, and Border critic, demanded the Minister of Transportation commit to public ownership of the new border crossing between Windsor and Detroit and in the process keep his promise.

“It is outrageous that the Minister wants to privatize our new border crossing. Windsor has a long experience with a private crossing operator. We have the highest tolls in the country as a result. We certainly don’t want make the same mistake again. A P3 (public private partnership) amounts to a ‘new border tax’ and more bureaucracy,” Masse declared in reference to statements the Minister of Transport, Hon. Laurence Cannon made yesterday about the Government of Canada’s intention to seek private sector participation to design build, finance and operate the Canadian inspection plaza and portion of the new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

”A Citigroup study evaluating private versus publicly owned infrastructure concluded that privately owned facilities require toll rates 35-40% higher than public ones. It also demonstrated that financing private infrastructure costs more as well. The evidence is clear. Public ownership makes sense on a community level, a public interest level, and now for all to see, on a financial level,” Masse stated.

The final determination of the ownership and governance structure of the next crossing has not been made yet by the Governments of Canada or the US. The Minister committed to effective public oversight in his speech to the Canadian Council of Public-Private Partnerships in Toronto.

”It makes no sense that the most important trade corridor in the country, with the most traffic and congestion does not have any public oversight or management. This region needs a Public Border Authority. This is the only model that will provide protection of the public interest. The Minister must live up to his promise for effective public oversight and that means public ownership not mistaken ideology,” Masse exclaimed.

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For more information: Mo Peer (519) 255-1631