Friday, September 20, 2013

On questions of trust

I'll give Deputy City Manager Brent Sjoberg credit for at least partially answering one of my long-standing questions about a privatized water treatment plant: namely, who's going to be left with the job of making sure a private operator lives up to its promises?
Q8. What are the contractual terms that are going to ensure that risk transfer on paper is risk transfer in practice?

SJOBERG: "There's quite a number of things in place in terms of that. It's where the private sector financing portion is really important as part of this project because they will be borrowing from banks and so on, and the banks will provide oversight that the contractor is delivering on their requirements in the contract, because they want to be repaid the borrowing, so they have oversight mechanisms.
So never mind ensuring that the City itself is knowledgeable enough to monitor how a water treatment plan is being run. Instead, we're supposed to trust our friendly neighbourhood banksters to put the public interest first in deciding how to handle loans to a private operator.

Because anybody who might caution that the interests of our financial overlords might involve cutting to the front of the line in the event of crisis or misreading risks out of self-interest is plainly unfit to be heard by the Very Serious People who have decided that a P3 is necessary.

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