Potential turning point for public-private partnerships for transit, says Siemiatycki

head shot

Professor Matti Siemiatycki, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

UTTRI associated faculty Professor Matti Siemiatycki, Interim Director of School of Cities, is quoted in the Montreal Gazette February 15, 2020 in “Ottawa’s new light rail is a mess. Could the same happen in Montreal?”

Siemiatycki comments on the likelihood of Montreal experiencing the issues that the City of Ottawa did with their recently completed Confederation Line.

Matti Siemiatycki, an associate professor in geography and planning for the University of Toronto’s School of Cities, said the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which is building the REM project, must be paying close attention to what’s happening in Ottawa and whether the companies it has subcontracted for the Montreal system are repeating errors that are now being uncovered in Ottawa.

“The Caisse will be watching this and looking at their contracts and providers and thinking through how to manage any issues to see if there are any lessons they can take early so these issues don’t arise,” he said.

He also saw the parallel in project partnerships.

Siemiatycki said the Ottawa experience could have repercussions for future governments considering building transit systems with a private sector partnership, which is a relatively new model.

“I think this has the potential to be a turning point for public-private partnerships for transit,” he said. “The performance on transit has not been as good as PPPs with hospitals and highways. The on-time and on-budget records for transit projects have not been as good. The Ottawa situation is now really bringing this model into the public arena.”

Read the full article.

Related content