Labour’s tunnel

Maurice Williamson is pointing at political infleunce in the decision to approve the $1.89 billion Waterview tunnels in Auckland. He claims it is not possibly to do with current funding, and the Government is not denying this:

“I don’t think the Government could ever fund a $1.9 billion road from just straight land transport funding,” Mr Williamson said. “That would mean the rest of the country would get nothing for nearly three years, so you have go to find an alternative source of funding.”

Finance Minister Michael Cullen has acknowledged it would be difficult to pay for the project from fuel taxes alone, and the Government is waiting for a report from a steering group on the feasibility of establishing a PPP to dig and operate the tunnels.

So why would approved a project it can’t afford to fund,

But Mr Williamson claimed Transit’s decision-making had been “terribly politicised” by the presence of Labour president Mike Williams on its board and by a statement by Prime Minister Helen Clark in 2005 in support of tunnels through Waterview, which is in her Mt Albert electorate.

“You’ve got the Prime Minister and the president of the Labour Party both actively involved in getting a design of a road which in my view is politicising it to a shocking extent,” he said.

Okay, well that explains it.

A submission to Transit by the Road Transport Forum, representing freight carriers, claimed that at least $500 million could be saved by staying above ground.

“An analysis of the extra costs of the tunnel option suggests Transit NZ is prepared to spend an extra $1.6 million per house to tunnel under the houses rather than face potential planning delays.”

Hey what is $500 million between friends. Remember there is no waste in Government spending!

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