Taxpayer cost for Trans Mountain Pipeline tops $16B

Taxpayer cost for Trans Mountain Pipeline tops $16B

Friday February 07, 2020

Pipeline cost now larger than Canada’s federal deficit, leading taxpayers to ask the question: "How much is too much?"

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Trans Mountain CEO Ian Anderson announced Friday that the projected cost of building the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion “soared” to $12.6 billion. When combined with the $4.5 billion already spent by the federal government on buying the project from Kinder Morgan, the cost to taxpayers now exceeds $16 billion. That cost is higher than Canada’s federal deficit, which was $14 billion as of fall 2019.

“Taxpayers across the country should be asking the question: How much is too much to pay for the Trans Mountain Pipeline?” said Sven Biggs, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Stand.earth. “At a price tag of $16 billion, that cost is now higher than Canada’s federal deficitBut instead of choosing to balance the budget, our federal government is incurring new debts to build this risky pipeline.”

Today’s announcement reveals that the cost of building the Trans Mounain Pipeline has increased by 133 per cent. When Kinder Morgan first unveiled the project in 2014, the construction cost was then estimated at $5.4 billion. Since then, the price tag has steadily increased, first to $7.4 billion in 2017, and then to $9.6 billion in 2018.      

Previously, Finance Minister Bill Morneau promised to find a private sector buyer for the pipeline. Today’s announcement, however, makes it more difficult than ever to find a buyer that would pay what the government will have to spend to complete the expansion project.

“It's hard to imagine that a buyer for the Trans Mountain Pipeline exists, when the costs keep growing and growing like this,” said Biggs. “Kinder Morgan struck out on finding a buyer, a joint venture partner, or investors for the pipeline. Why does the federal government thinks it will have better luck after adding billions of dollars to the project's price tag?”

In September 2019, Stand.earth released its investigative report titled “Trans Mountain Pipeline: The truth about construction” revealing how the Canadian federal government faces bigger construction challenges than previously thought and calls into question the three-year construction timeline for the project. The report reveals that construction activities have not once been on schedule, and highlights several serious permitting delays for the project, including ongoing route hearings in British Columbia that illustrate how there is still not an approved route for the full pipeline. 

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Media contacts: 

Sven Biggs, Climate & Energy Campaigner, sven@stand.earth, 778-882-8354