Ontario privatized highway maintenance led to accidents, injuries, deaths

NDP Transportation and Works Critic George Murphy

NDP Transportation and Works critic George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) says this province should refuse to consider privatizing highway maintenance, given the numerous problems such public-private contracts caused in Ontario. He cited a report from that province’s auditor general; the report outlined dozens of incidents of poor contractor performance, including one 50-car pile-up caused by delayed salt spreading by a contractor.

“The Ontario Auditor General recently released a report revealing public safety was seriously jeopardized by public-private partnership contracts for highway maintenance,” Murphy said in the House of Assembly’s Question Period today.

“I ask the Premier, is he unaware of this shocking report on the dangers of P3 highway maintenance?”

Murphy noted that the Ontario Auditor General found that private highway snow-clearing contractors used far less salt and de-icing fluid to save money. The NDP MHA says roads in Newfoundland and Labrador can be treacherous at the best of times, and the last thing drivers here need is private contractors more focused on profits than safety.

“Is the Premier aware the Ontario Provincial Police reported highways left covered in ice and snow for days at a time, that contractors often ignored their requests for sand and salt, resulting in many collisions, injuries and even deaths?” asked Murphy.

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