Phil Twyford - Labour Party's transport spokesperson
Labour is calling on the Government to pull the plug on the Mackays to Peka Peka section of the Kapiti expressway after a leaked NZTA document reveals the project has a "shockingly low" benefit to cost ratio.
Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says the motorway project, which is currently before a Board of Inquiry, should be cancelled because the numbers simply don't add up.
"A leaked report by engineering consultants Beca shows the half a billion dollar motorway project has a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 0.2, which falls a long way short of break even at 1.0.
"It also reveals that a $515 million investment will generate a return of only $118 million over a 30 year period. Spending this much money on what Beca describes as a 'relatively uncongested part of the road network' would be an economic and environmental crime.
"It is only the Government's pig-headed commitment to its so-called 'roads of national significance' that keeps this project on the books. With such a low benefit to cost ratio it is impossible to justify the social and environmental cost of putting a massive elevated concrete expressway through the heart of the Kapiti Coast - especially when there is a more affordable and less destructive option available through completing the Western Ring Route and improving State Highway One.
"The Government should be embarrassed by this revelation. It's no wonder it has tried to keep the report under wraps, refusing to release it under the Official Information Act.
"Gerry Brownlee says the public shouldn't worry too much about the benefit-cost ratio which NZTA are required to use by law to assess the economic value of projects. Blowing a billion dollars a year of taxpayers'
money on gold-plated motorway projects regardless of their value for money is okay by him.
"We saw it with the Puhoi-Wellsford holiday highway. When consultants produced a BCR of 0.4, Mr Brownlee sat on the report and then took 10 months to commission another report to massage a more acceptable figure.
"Mr Brownlee plans to raise road user charges and petrol tax, and borrow money, to fund these white elephant motorway projects.
"He should think again and pull the plug on this one," Phil Twyford said.