There has been a lot in the news lately about big motorway projects
being rushed through by the government without proper community consultation.
latest announcement Stephen Joyce
has made is about prioritizing the upgrade of SH1 between Puhoi to Wellsford. The Minister talks a lot about how this project will increase regional connectivity and brings benefits to Northland.
But all his fine words can’t hide what
documents released today by the NZTA
This $1.4 billion motorway project has no economic case to back it up. It has a benefit cost ratio of 0.8. That means for every $1 invested in this project the New Zealand taxpayer will only receive 80 cents of economic benefits back.
Over the whole motorway we stand to lose $280 million!
Building so many motorways so fast limits our ability to build good public transport.
Mr Joyce keeps saying that he supports both roads and rail. That we need to invest in both motorways and public transport to get people around.
The problem is that we cannot afford to build both roads and public transport links at the speed Mr Joyce is investing in motorways. We are a small nation and our transport budget is limited. As John Key might say: “There are no pixies at the bottom of the garden printing money.”
If we invest over $10 billion in motorways over the next 10 years that leaves few funds for new bus, rail, walking, cycling, and rail and sea freight infrastructure.
This is why so many of the major public transport projects we need in Auckland have incredibly distant completion dates in our
Regional Land Transport Strategy
. For example:
- the CBD Rail tunnel in Auckland – maybe 2021
- extending the Northern Busway to Orewa – 2040
- rail to Auckland airport – 2031 – 2040;
- dedicated busway from Panmure to Botany to Manukau – 2031.
And as for having high speed rail between Auckland and Hamilton and Tauranga, or Palmerston North and Wellington. Forget about it!