Steven Joyce has just announced a new preferred route for the Waterview connection – one that is $1.4 billion cheaper than Labour’s tunnel. Labour are campaigning now to spend $1.4 billion just so they can win a by-election, or as ACT calls it a buy-election.
The tunnel will cost:
The $2.77 billion figure was made up of $1.98 billion for construction of the tunnels, $240 million for associated work on State Highway 16 and $550 million for finance costs during the project construction period.
And the new preferred route:
“The NZ Transport Agency has reviewed all options and has found that the Waterview Connection, together with the same amount of associated work on State Highway 16, can be built for considerably less, at an expected cost of between $1 billion and $1.4 billion, depending which of the options is taken,” says Mr Joyce.
And the cost savings get better:
“In addition, all of the options being considered by the NZ Transport Agency would be built with wide enough shoulders to allow for easy widening to three lanes in each direction.
“An appropriate comparison, therefore, is between the top cost of $1.4 billion and the $3.16 billion price of the previous government’s twin three lane tunnel option.
People will quibble over the numbers, but there is such a huge gulf between them, it is clear Labour’s tunnel is a vote buying extravagance that would cost every household around $2,000.
Also from the Q&A:
This review identified several options that are cost effective, allow for future growth and balance the strategic need to complete the Western Ring Route with concerns about local impacts. As well as costing significantly less, they could also be built 12-18 months earlier than the twin tunnel option.
And the route:
“The NZ Transport Agency’s Board is meeting today to consider the three alternative options and will announce its preference tomorrow, once it has had the opportunity to make first contact with those directly affected.
“A thorough consultation process on the form of the selected option will then commence before a final decision is made.”
I’m looking forward for Labour to keep campaigning for their pet tunnel. They may win the by-election but it will make great campaign ads in 2011.