Here’s a trick you can all play at home. You’ll need several different plans for a major motorway project produced by NZTA and a compliant Treasury ready and willing to alter figures to make your preferred option look better than it is.
Now, you want to save a little money by going for the cheapest option but that’s also really unpopular because there are pesky people in the way and they don’t want their homes and schools and businesses bulldozed. So, this is where you get your Treasury to ramp up the price and make it seem much the popular tunnel option is much more expensive than the other options.
The tunnel option is really only a few hundred million more than some the above ground options (actually cheaper than some) but if you add in some costs that apply to any of the options but only count them towards the cost of the tunnel option you can make that gap look bigger.
– add $240 million for changes to adjoining motorways that have to happen whichever option is taken
– add $500 million for financing costs to the tunnel option only
– start talking about the tunnel option in 2015 dollars and add $250 million for inflation
– don’t talk about the benefits of a tunnel over above ground in terms of amenity value to the community
Hey presto, you’ve added nearly a billion dollars to the cost of the tunnel option. Pretty neat huh? Now it looks to the casual or lazy observer/journalist like it is much much more expensive than the other options.
Then to top it off, just make up a plausible sounding cap for the cost of the other options that is actually a lot less than any of them are projected to cost even before including changes to adjoining motorways, financing costs, inflation, and costs to the community.
Oh and keep quiet about the fact that you don’t have resource consents for any of the above ground options, which will delay the project by years as the community strenuously fights you every step of the way.
–Marty G (formerly mathemagician)