It is just galling to read the comments of Transport Minister Steven Joyce on the Puhoi to Wellsford holiday highway in the Herald today:
A report from the Transport Agency released yesterday by Mr Joyce gives estimates of cost for the whole job. These vary from $1.3 billion to $2.04 billion depending on how long it takes.
Mr Joyce said a $10.7 billion commitment to state highways over 10 years meant that funding was not the big issue for the project.
Funding is “not the big issue” even though this dog of a project promises to return 80c for every dollar invested. But the usual refrain of “economic growth” apparently magically applies to this and all other roading projects, absolving anyone of justifying the cost:
Mr Joyce said the argument was getting lead infrastructure to help stimulate growth.
Quite how a wider holiday highway equates to economic growth is anyone’s guess. Paying the unemployed to dig a big hole and fill it in again could potentially stimulate more growth than this utter lemon of a project.
And as Josh points out over at his blog , the bottle neck is really Warkworth, the solution for which is a bypass around it.