Bypass project contracted to corporation from France

NDP supports a bypass, doesn’t like the government’s choice of location or use of P3

The NDP wants a Regina bypass built – but doesn’t like the government’s choice to outsource the project to an international French-led consortium.

It also has serious concerns about the short-sighted location choice for the bypass – built far too close inside Regina city limits instead of around the city, it will not divert heavy highway traffic as Regina residents hope, and will be in the middle of future Regina growth.

The government has awarded the massive contract to France-based VINCI, leading a group calling itself SaskLink Global Transportation Partners. The 11-company team VINCI is leading includes corporations from California, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec with only one that appears to be headquartered in Saskatchewan.

“Because this is a public-private partnership (P3), the government is signing on to a long-term relationship with these companies, perhaps 30 years or more,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon, referring to the government’s plan to use a private conglomerate not only to design and build the bypass, but also to operate and maintain it on a long-term contract.

“It should be owned and operated in the straightforward way, by Saskatchewan. But, failing that, we sure didn’t want to see it go to a giant out-of-country corporation.”

The companies involved in the VINCI bid include:

  • GraCorp –  a subsidiary of Graham, with offices in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto
  • Parsons – an American company headquartered in California
  • Graham – an Alberta company
  • Carmacks – an Edmonton-based company owned by Eurovia, which is owned by VINCI
  • McElhanney – a British Columbia company
  • Urban Systems – a British Columbia company with an office in Saskatoon
  • Buckland and Taylor – a British Columbia company
  • Exp – an Ontario firm
  • Clifton Assoc – the only Saskatchewan-based company involved
  • Delcan – a California corporation owned by Parsons
  • National Bank – a bank based in Quebec

While the Opposition New Democrats are strong supporters of building a Regina bypass, they’re concerned that using a P3 rental scheme instead of a straightforward build will cost taxpayers more. The Ontario auditor concluded that over the course of 75 P3s in that province, taxpayers paid and extra $8 billion than they would have with straightforward building of the projects.

Ontario’s auditor said the industry standard so-called “value for money” reports are misleading, tacking on unsubstantiated millions to make it look like public ownership would be more expensive when it’s actually more cost effective.