A great scoop by Campbell Live tonight showing that the cost-benefit ratio of the Mackays to Peka Peka part of the Kapiti Expressway – a key section of the Wellington Northern Corridor RoNS project – has been recalculated recently as being 0.2. That is, for around $630 million worth of spending we’re only going to get roughly $120 million of benefit. Click the picture below, or here, to watch the video:
To be honest I’m not surprised that more detailed analysis has shown that this project makes no economic sense. In some respects it is a solution in search of a problem – much like Puhoi-Wellsford. The Wellington region simply isn’t growing in population very much, plus it has a pretty effective existing rail system. There simply isn’t the need for a vastly oversized piece of infrastructure like what is proposed.
However, I think the real story becomes clear when we start putting the pieces of this puzzle together. Recently we’ve found out that NZTA are happy to fudge the numbers on their $5 billion harbour crossing project and that they generally vastly over-estimate the benefits of their motorway projects. One wonders whether they just typically bury reports – like the one obtained by Campbell Live – which don’t give them the answer they’re after and shop around for something more palatable. In any case I think it’s time for some sort of independent investigation into NZTA as clearly they’re doing a rubbish job at assessing the merits of transport projects and there are, literally, billions of dollars at stake to get this right.