The 2012 Provincial Auditor’s Report on Metrolinx
Metrolinx, a Government of Ontario agency, has a mandate to “co-ordinate and integrate all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area” (GTHA). Its blueprint for regional transportation expansion, The Big Move, was released in 2008. Initially, all debt to support transit projects in this plan was to be arranged through the Ontario Financing Authority using public procurement. However, by 2011 its investment strategy reflected changes to the Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation Act that required projects over $50-million to be considered for Alternate Funding Procurement.
In traditional public procurement, money is borrowed directly from the government at low interest rates. The appropriate government agency has responsibility for design, operation and maintenance while either undertaking the construction itself (of which there are many advantages which neoliberalism has shunted) or contracting out construction to a builder. But in the new Alternate Funding Procurement (AFP) model, a private consortium obtains financing from a private bank in order to design, build and possibly maintain and operate government infrastructure. AFP is essentially another term for public-private partnership (or P3) [Ed.: seeJohn Loxley on P3s]. Continue reading