Warkworth motorway relies on expensive private loan

National’s gold-plated Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will suck good money away from more valuable, worthwhile transport projects in Auckland and Northland for decades to come, the Green Party said today.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today that work will finally start on its so-called Road of National Significance from Pūhoi to Warkworth, 18 kilometres of motorway with a benefit cost ratio of just 1.1 to 1.2.

“This motorway won't do anything to help Northland, it just sucks up funding for much-needed improvements to local roads and the neglected rail network in the region," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“The project is relying on a public-private partnership which will make it many times more expensive than the $706 million figure the Minister has quoted to the public.

“Kiwis will be paying back the cost of the project at about 12% interest for 25 years. It’s a shockingly irresponsible use of future taxpayers money, that does nothing to protect our climate.

“National has opted to spend nearly a billion dollars on only 18 kilometres of motorway to attempt to solve the problem of long-weekend holiday traffic north of Auckland.

“Usually it takes just 16 minutes to drive this stretch of motorway, and that won’t be changed by spending a billion dollars.

“Just ask Northland Regional Council or Kiwirail what they could do with a billion dollars on new projects that could make a much bigger difference to moving freight and people around the region.

“National could have solved these traffic problems at half the cost and had change left over for road and rail improvements that actually would have helped people.

“Alternative, low-cost improvement to the road were investigated and costed by Campaign for Better Transport and TransportBlog in 2010, which cost between $160 million and $360 million.

“National's Roads of National Significance have been notoriously low value-for-money,” said Ms Genter.

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