Campbell Live had a piece on Monday based on a leaked report into the benefit cost ratio of National’s Kapiti Expressway project. Now, in its evidence to the EPA hearings on the project, NZTA has claimed the BCR was 0.93 – ie you only get 93 cents worth of gain for each dollar spent. It turns out that was a massive exaggeration. In reality, we get 20 cents of value for every dollar spent. For $630m, we get $120m of gain. The other $510m, we basically burn. It has all the economic value of paying someone to dig a hole and fill it in again.
We shouldn’t really be surprised by the fact that this project, like the Puhoi to Wellsford Holiday Highway isn’t worthwhile. They basically involve building a new, wider, road alongside the existing road – despite the fact that traffic volumes on the existing road are falling. What will happen? The existing road will be emptied (but still cost to maintain etc) and the new road won’t be used at anything like its design capacity.
Put it in personal terms: say you’re a couple in middle-age. You’ve got a normal house. It was pretty crowded when all the kids lived at home but they’re leaving now. And, so, you decide to build a mansion alongside your existing house. Now, you’ve about three times the housing capacity to rattle around in, less demand in your family unit for housing, and a mountain more debt.
That’s what National is doing with your taxpayer dollars with these ludicrous roading projects – burning half a billion dollars, just for the hell of it.
Now, how many affordable houses could that build?
Think on that the next time National says it can’t afford to do something important for people in need.