Official Information Act Request Reveals Economic Assessment “Several Months” Away
It was revealed today that the Government’s “Roads of National Significance”, which includes the latest Waterview motorway option along with six other motorway plans around the country, have yet to pass any economic assessment.
In March of this year the Government announced the seven roading projects were “essential routes that required priority treatment” and would “support economic growth”, however the Campaign for Better Transport has received confirmation from the New Zealand Transport Agency that “corridor benefit cost ratios” for each route will take “several months to complete for all seven of the Roads of National Significance.”
Campaign For Better Transport spokesperson Cameron Pitches said this raises serious questions about the decision last week by Minister of Transport Steven Joyce to commit an additional $1bn to state highway projects over the next three years, bringing total funding to around $3bn.
The funding boost has been achieved by deep cuts to public transport, walking and cycling, demand management, local roading and project monitoring budgets.
“On the one hand the Minister of Transport is on record saying that he ‘supports transport infrastructure projects that make at least some sort of economic sense’, and on the other he has advanced billions of dollars to new state highway projects without knowing any of the costs or benefits. He can’t have it both ways,” said Mr Pitches.
With the Budget imminent, Mr Pitches is calling on the Government to explain the rationale for increased investment in state highways, given the uncertainty of the economic benefits and rising oil prices.
Meanwhile, the Campaign for Better Transport reports that the response to its “Action Stations” postcard campaign has been overwhelming. Almost 2,500 postcards in support of promised public transport projects, such as integrated ticketing and new railway stations, have been sent to central Government transport decision makers in the last week. The projects are now threatened with delays or funding cuts.
“It’s a great demonstration of the huge level of support there is for public transport here in Auckland. And public transport projects with the capability of moving thousands of people without the need for cars also make the most economic sense,” concludes Mr Pitches.
Postcards can also be downloaded from the bettertransport.org.nz website.
The seven “Roads Of National Significance” are:
• Puhoi to Wellsford – SH1
• Completion of the Auckland Western Ring Route – SH20/16/18
• Auckland Victoria Park – SH1
• Waikato Expressway – SH1
• Tauranga Eastern Corridor – SH2
• Wellington Northern Corridor (Levin to Wellington) – SH1
• Christchurch motorway projects
Government Press Release on “Roads of National Significance”:
CBT’s Official Information Act Request:
Action Stations Campaign Website: