Holiday Highway budget blow-out should spell its end

A Green government would immediately halt Simon Bridges’ eye-wateringly expensive motorway expansion between Warkworth and Wellsford and redirect funding to high-value projects like rail to Mount Roskill or the North Shore, the Green Party said today.

Government answers to written questions show the Warkworth to Wellsford motorway is now estimated to cost between $1.4 and $1.9 billion with a Benefit Cost Ratio of 0.25. When it was originally proposed in 2009 the 24km motorway extension was expected to cost $494 million. That figure was then revised to $1 billion in 2012.

“When Aucklanders are being told there’s no money for urgent rail projects it's incredibly frustrating to watch Simon Bridges sink almost $2 billion into an ineffective motorway expansion," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“If we took that $1.9 billion dollars and invested it in mass transit we could put light rail from Wynyard quarter, up Queen Street, and all the way down Dominion Road and still have change left over.

“Instead Simon Bridges is choosing to throw tax-payers money down the drain. For every public dollar he spends on this motorway, New Zealanders will get just 25 cents of benefits back.

“There are legitimate safety and congestion concerns around Warkworth and Wellford, but it's been estimated that these can be resolved for less than a quarter of the cost of this proposed motorway with simple targeted road widening and barrier installations.

“I expect Simon Bridges is pushing ahead despite the cost hike because National made a big song and dance announcing the motorway back in 2009. He doesn’t want to admit that his pet project just isn’t worth the cost," said Ms Genter.

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