Gerry Brownlee has weakly attempted to fob off the decline in benefit:cost ratio of highway projects under National. ‘Sure’ he says ‘we’ve been funding projects that barely break even while high BCR spending like early childhood education gets cut, but things will turn around’. Um, no. Look at the projects National has on the horizon, more good money after bad.
Take Transmission Gully, 60 cents of benefit for every dollar spent.
Or the Puhoi to Wellsford Holiday Highway, $1.10 for every dollar spent – if you’re lucky. In generating these numbers the officials ignore peak oil, remember.
After that is the next round of ‘Roads of National Significance’, appropriately named because they would make the commute a little quicker in some National-leaning constituencies. But at what cost to the rest of us? NZTA hasn’t done the numbers officially but bear in mind these are the roads that didn’t make the first cut, so they’re going to be even more worthless.
But it’s not all about the benefits and costs, apparently. Brownlee begs us to remember that these roads to nowhere have ‘strategic fit’. I presume that means we need a good road into Northland so we can move the legions quickly if the Gauls invade. Actually, ‘strategic fit’ is just bureaucrat-speak for ‘what the minister wants’.
There’s a $15b plus hole in the transport budget over the coming two decades and National is using the money we do have on worthless pet projects. Who would have thought this is how we would face the age of peak oil?