Liberty Scott on Waterview

Liberty Scott has some useful fisking on :

2. Idiot Savant says the announcement by the NZTA on the preferred route for the Waterview connection is “an affront to democracy”. Complete bollocks. When did people vote for the route of ANY road? It never happened for any other section of the Western Ring Route, nor the Northern Gateway, nor the Waikato Expressway, nor the Christchurch Southern Motorway.

One piece of hysteria dealt with.

3. He also talks nonsense in claiming “the plan centres on using an existing rail designation for a motorway. So, Auckland won’t be getting a proper rail-based public transport network because National will have already built a stinking great road there.” Funnily enough there remains room for the motorway there (the map he links to shows this) and even ARTA has no plans to built the Avondale-Southdown railway till 2030. The project isn’t worth it, so to claim Auckland “wont be getting a proper rail-based public transport network” because one line that would be barely used isn’t to be built, is extreme hyperbole.

And another.

4. Bomber at Tumeke thinks it is a conspiracy with National favouring its big business mates at Macquaries and hating public transport. For starters, Labour’s plans would have benefited Macquaries far more as it would have been a bigger scheme and a PPP. On top of that, the Waterview connection wont be tolled, nor will it be a PPP, Macquaries provides finance for PPP toll , it isn’t in the road construction business in New Zealand. The company can’t benefit from this decision at all. So that makes this conspiracy theory totally fatuous.

Now that is just embarrassing.

5. The Standard tries to spin that the government is misleading on costs, something that NZTA clears up quite quickly. It also makes some of the same mistakes as others do.

All options require work at SH16 worth $242 million.

Labour wanted a four lane bored tunnel. $1.974 billion. National is now proposing a four lane mix of surface, bored tunnel and cut and cover tunnel at $1.165 billion, with provision for six laning built in (Labour’s option did not allow for that). That’s over $800 million difference. To put that in context, Transit’s total budget last year for ALL state highways activities was $1.2 billion. So National’s proposal saves a lot of money, AND allows for future growth.

So even before we look at finance costs, Labour wants to spend $800 million on its tunnel – which is 2/3rds of the total annual state highway budget.

And almost all the predictions are that one will need six lanes within a few years – that will put Labour’s pet tunnel cost up by a further $361 million.

Labour had proposed a PPP for the motorway, so financing costs (interest) of $554 million had been included for its option. However, Labour had NO budgetary provision for the motorway at all. Financing costs are the costs of paying a PPP operator to borrow, build and operate the road. The money to pay the PPP operator would still need to come from somewhere

It is Labour that proposed its tunnel be financed from a PPP, which adds on the financing cost. This is an actual cost – the money will be borrowed and paid.

National will pay for its proposal through the Land Transport Fund – no borrowing. But even if it did have to borrow to fund it, the financing costs would be around $250 million less than the $554 million.

So even if one assigns a financing cost to National’s proposal, it is $1.08 billion cheaper than Labour’s tunnel. With no financing cost (as it won’t incur borrowing) it is $1.36 billion cheaper than Labour’s tunnel and if you compare it to what would have become necessary – a three lane tunnel each way, it is $1.75 billion cheaper.

So Labour is insisting on a tunnel that is at a minimum going to cost $1.08 billion more.

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