It has been really refreshing to see transport discussed so much in parliament this week – with the results of the exchanges spilling into the media, as evidenced by the interviews on Breakfast TV a couple of days back.
What seems to have really kicked this off are numbers coming out of the Ministry of Transport, and in a series of answers to written questions, highlighting the ever-increasing dominance of our transport budget by projects that have very low cost-benefit ratios. This was first highlighted in the Ministry of Transport’s briefing to the incoming minister – which included this graph: A series of written questions from Phil Twyford to Gerry Brownlee has dug up some further detail on the numbers that sit behind the graph above (at least for the last couple of years) and also updated it with 2010/2011 data. I’ve put together the answers to a series of written questions into the table below – first by dollar amount and then by percentage: Finally, a couple of questions asked by Mr Twyford look at the proportion of the state highway spend on projects with low cost-benefit ratios that are related to Roads of National Significance projects. The answers highlight that in 2009/2010, $527 million of the $587 million spent on projects with low cost-benefit ratios related to RoNS project (just under 90%). In 2010/2011, $468 million of the $583 million spent on projects with low BCRs related to RoNS projects (just over 80%).
Geez what happened from 2008/2009 onwards that triggered such a dramatic lowering in the cost-effectiveness of our state highway spending? Oh that’s right, the current government came to power and introduced the RoNS projects.