South Fraser Perimeter Road moves ahead as revised Fraser Transportation Group signs agreement with Ministry of Transportation

Late out in yesterday’s press releases from the government was the news that the Fraser Transportation Group came to an agreement with the province to complete the very contentious South Fraser Perimeter Road. You can read that press release  HERE.

” VICTORIA – The Province and the Fraser Transportation Group have entered into a design, build, finance and operate agreement for the completion of the South Fraser Perimeter Road Project, announced Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond and the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board of Canada and Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

“The agreement with Fraser Transportation Group represents the major contract for implementing the project and it provides excellent value for taxpayer dollars,” said Bond.

Under the contract, Fraser Transportation Group will be undertaking construction work costing $658 million. Fraser Transportation Group was selected to carry out the final design and construction of the SFPR through a rigorous competitive selection process. This public-private partnership agreement finalizes a performance-based, fixed-price contract with Fraser Transportation Group to design, build, finance and operate the road for a term of 20 years. The contract includes $200 million in private-sector financing and makes certain that Fraser Transportation Group assumes construction, cost, schedule, design, long-term maintenance and operational risks, as well as other costs related to the project.

This announcement puts to rest the chatter about whether or not the project would even move ahead, but questions still remain as to the complete scope of the project, which was rumoured to have been revised due to economic concerns on the part of the MOT.

The province of BC has increased the budget of the project by another $ 37 million, and says that this money will come from savings on other ministry capital projects… notice they fail to mention exactly what projects they have saved this money on !

Since the AFPR is yet another one of those totally ridiculous  P3 projects , I’ve been following this bid since the beginning, in particular because  of a large change in the make-up of the bidders that comprised the winning consortium –  something that apparently occurred half way through the bidding process.  You can read the interest and questions behind that development  at the following posts:

The question still remains of how a qualified bidder was able to change the members of the group – after the initial bids had been entered . Were the other bidders advised of the change? Was the bidding process fair to all qualified bidders ? No one knows. While the ministry remained somewhat closed mouth as to the reasons behind the changes in the Fraser Transportation Group, I  wasn’t satisfied with their answers, and contacted  one of the companies that dropped out, which was Zachry American Infrastructure from Texas. There I was told that the project did not meet their needs after further evaluation of what they were looking towards in this economy.

Questions and protests will continue as this project charges forward, about  the wisdom of paving over valuable farmland and the delicate ecosystem of Burns Bog, as well as whether this project is even required. Port use projections are said to be far above what is realistic considering China’s  sagging economy, a key element behind the motivation for the SFPR. Coupled with having to compete for trade business with the massive expansion of the Panama Canal, the SFPR seems to be doomed to oblivion at the taxpayers expense.

Over priced and contentious projects, dubious bidding practices and blindness towards longstanding ecological damage ?

Just another day at the office for the BC Liberals and the Ministry of  Transportation.

** I highly recommend that anyone with a vested interest in this project, for whatever reason, read the links above, AND the comments that follow.  There is absolutely no need for the SFPR . There are also important questions about the bidding process of all  public projects in the Ministry of Transportation, and this project is no different.

Over the past year and a half, I have encountered numerous allegations that have come my way specifically regarding the way the MOT conducts the procurement process in this province. Everything leads me to believe a full inquiry and review must be conducted  on those projects originated within that ministry, by an outside agency if not the RCMP. The Tercon case is only one example that clearly shows highly unethical, fraudulent behavior that borders on the criminal, on the part of ministry staffers.

On that note, be sure to scroll down and leave your contribution to the Gordon Campbell Caption Challenge.!