Waiting on P3 money makes critics nervous

VANCOUVER — Using private funding to finance public projects has had its detractors, and those critics could get a little more ammo for their argument if a B.C. project fails to materialize.

Financing for the public-private partnership expected to twin the Port Mann Bridge and widen the Trans-Canada Highway in the Lower Mainland has been slow to develop.

The Macquarie Group – Australia’s largest investment bank – has, so far, not been able to put together financing for the $1-billion-plus project.

The province’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon however, isn’t worried. He admits it’s a difficult time to secure capital, but the Australian outfit was given an extension and seems confident they can pull together what is needed in time.

Macquarie now has until early February to find sufficient funding and Falcon chose not to speculate on what would happen if the bank comes up short for the more than $1 billion project.

— with files from Canwest

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