July 14, 1995
NDP Leader John Holm today released the Liberal government's deal to pay the Arthur Andersen company $750,000 for advice on privatizing the Western alignment of Highway 104 (excerpt attached), obtained through Freedom of Information. "Privatization is the greatest game in town," said Holm. "The government spends millions of taxpayers' money, and has nothing concrete to show for it." Comparing Andersen's $750,000 to the $616,000 from last year's 3% wage rollback in the Transportation department, he said the three-quarters of a million "is part of the price of Liberal arrogance and incompetence. These clowns can't even get into hot water without paying a consultant to help them." Andersen were guaranteed $430,000 to advise whether the privatization should proceed, and if so, how to do it. Andersen advised that tolls had to be imposed on both the existing Wentworth Valley route and on the new Western alignment of 104. The Washington, D.C.-based consultants are to receive another $320,000 for helping decide who will build the new route and collect the tolls. The Request for Proposals for the toll highway has not yet been issued, despite the April 1994 Liberal claim that privatization would speed completion. Down the road, the Liberals will pay Andersen more, to help oversee construction of the controversial new route, and installation of the toll booths. "This is highway robbery," Holm said. "Andersen are getting $750,000 before a blade of grass is turned over on the long- delayed new route." The NDP now want to know what else has been spent on other consultants and outside lawyers, since only Andersen's fees were released to them through Freedom of Information. -30- Contract, as released, available on request.