In the Sunday Star Times today, Rod Oram exposes the extreme lengths that the Government is prepared to go to to bolster the case for the hugely uneconomic Puhoi to Wellsford toll road.
THE GOVERNMENT told owners of 55 properties last week that their homes or other buildings could be bulldozed to make way for its $1.65 billion Puhoi to Wellsford motorway. It was a tragedy for the owners.
But what if the motorway was also a tragedy for 1.4 million Aucklanders?
It could well be. The motorway will significantly distort development patterns, thereby blighting the region. It will help push urban development out to 85km north of Auckland’s CBD over coming decades.
This will exacerbate Auckland’s weakness as a sprawling city, with dire economic consequences. Worldwide evidence shows lower density means higher infrastructure costs, favouring private over public transport and a weaker network effect. People living and working closely together generate greater wealth than those spread out.
In fact, the government knew last year the motorway was uneconomic, according to the cost/benefit analysis done for it. Likewise, the Waikato Expressway and Wellington to Levin motorway were uneconomic under conventional analysis.
That was very embarrassing for the government. After all, the three projects account for almost half of its $11b, 10-year Roads of National Significance programme. And the analysis showed speeding up the projects, which the government promises, would reduce the benefits.
I urge you to read it.