Transport agency admit no benefit to Waterview

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Green Party MP Keith Locke has expressed astonishment that Transit New Zealand (now the New Zealand Transport Agency) has admitted the Waterview motorway project has no clear benefit, and that the agency has not considered the future price of oil in its project analysis.

“I was astounded when in a letter to me, the then acting Chair of Transit, Bryan Jackson, said ‘Transit has not made any projections for the future price of oil’ and that the benefit/cost ratio for the project was ‘approximately 1.0’,” the Green Party’s Spokesperson on Auckland Transport Issues, Mr Locke says.

“With the Government’s own transport agency freely admitting that there is virtually no cost benefit to this four and a half kilometres of motorway – other than the general longer term benefit of completing a network – the projected tunnel is more like a drain into which the Labour Government is pouring nearly $2 billion.

“It is astonishing that Transit made no projections for the price of oil, particularly when its own research report ‘

Managing Transport Challenges When Oil Prices Rise

‘ which says oil will never be cheap again.

“The rising price of oil – which is already reducing the number of car journeys – surely puts into question another of Mr Jackson’s comments to me, that ‘the Waterview Connection will be near capacity in 2015’, which of course is the year it is due to be completed”.

“I appreciate that Mr Jackson admits ‘a strong lobby for this project from the business sector’ which is apparently keen to use this road.

“But if the new Transport Agency is going to listen to lobby groups, what about the hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders desperate for more train and bus services? They have been voting with their feet, increasing patronage on Auckland’s passenger rail by 30 percent this winter.

“On any objective cost-benefit analysis, the $1.9 billion should be devoted to upgrading Auckland’s still creaky public transport system.”