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Greens call for honest review of both road & rail projects

21 December 2010

Greens call for honest review of both road & rail projects

While reviewing the business case for the CBD rail loop Steven Joyce should also review the case for investing $1.7 billion into the Puhoi-to-Wellsford ‘Holiday highway’, the Green Party said today.

“Treasury should be asking the Transport Minister why he is so determined to pour money into the Holiday Highway but not the rail loop,” said Gareth Hughes, Green Party transport spokesperson.

The $1.7 billion Puhoi-to-Wellsford Road of National Significance project was announced by Steven Joyce nine months before a business case was presented. When a business case was eventually published, it showed that the project had a very low cost benefit ratio.

“The case for the Holiday Highway toll road has many more unanswered questions in it than the CBD rail loop,” said Mr Hughes.

“One project is a rural road that is not heavily used; the other project, the Auckland CBD loop, could transform the Auckland rail network, leading to a doubling of services into the city and laying the basis for route expansions to the airport and beyond.

“The section of State Highway between Puhoi and Wellsford is not heavily used with little potential to lead to an economic transformation for the Auckland region — unlike the CBD rail loop,” said Mr Hughes.

Earlier this year, the Green Party obtained documents under the Official Information Act which showed that the first business case for the Puhoi-to-Wellsford project, completed by independent consultants, found the motorway had a benefit cost ratio of just 0.40 — for every $1.00 invested in the project, NZ would receive only $0.40 of economic benefits.

“The review of both projects should also take into account factors such as rising oil prices and climate change,” added Mr Hughes.

“The Government needs to start evaluating the costs and benefits of rail and roading projects more fairly rather than unquestioningly pouring billions of dollars into uneconomic motorways while refusing to fund desperately needed rail improvements.”


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