No P3 for Toronto airport rail link or for Evergreen Line operation

News that the Ontario government has asked its public sector commuter rail firm to build and operate the new commuter link from Toronto to George Pearson Airport means SNC Lavalin will not be obtaining the concession it hoped to repeat the success of the Canada Line.

The reason? The continuing refusal of financial markets to support projects that may be highly desirable but not necessarily profitable.

For similar reasons, the provincial government is working with Translink on an Evergreen Line plan that assumes Translink will operate and maintain that line, dodging the public-private partnership debate the nearly sank the Canada Line approvals in 2003.

The Canada Line P3 gave the illusion of drawing capital from the private sector. In fact, Translink must repay all the private investment and operating costs out of its own revenues.