Thursday, July 10, 2008

The new cheaper Aston Martin

Hey guess what, I've found an Aston Martin that is cheaper than a new DB9, it does almost everything as good as the DB9 but starts at £83,000 instead of £110,850. It's the V8 Vantage.


Problem is, of course, I have money committed at lots of other things, so like hell can I afford either one.

However, the idea that you shouldn't pursue something you can't afford doesn't bother some Wellington local authorities. According to the Dominion Post they are crowing about how the new design for Transmission Gully "saves $275 million". Hmmm really? It "saves" money that actually nobody has in the first place, just like the V8 Vantage is a saving over the DB9.

You see the potential users of Transmission Gully wont pay anywhere near enough money to pay for more than maybe 10% of the road's financing costs, the project itself costs more than all road projects underway throughout the country in one go, and even the money earmarked by the government for it is less than half the cost.

So Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast is dead right when she says "At the moment you'd be hard pressed to start it at all" and that it is in never-never land without a vast increase in funding. However the money can't come from road users without an increase in fuel tax, of around 5c/l ACROSS THE COUNTRY, which would raise about $150m a year. You might ask why you in Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Christchurch or anywhere else should pay more for petrol largely so people living in the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington can have a choice of routes to get to work in the morning.

You see Transmission Gully is a very expensive solution looking for a problem. Safety isn't it, as relatively modest amounts of money have been spent on upgrading the current road. Congestion isn't it, as it is now pretty modest at peak times, and congestion north of the route is far more significant (which it will exacerbate). The only remaining argument is the bizarre notion that Wellington needs another route out and in in the event of an earthquake. Of course given the Rimutaka's have a road, and there is a port means this is rather specious. What is this route meant to do?? Is it worth $1billion of money from those who never benefit from the project to pay for some rather peculiar insurance policy?

Porirua Mayor Jenny Brash is well intentioned, but basically this is an enormous project to benefit a few suburbs in her city - Kapiti wants it because it is a subsidy for Kapiti dwellers commuting to Wellington.

I typically believe it is better to build roads than railways, but roads shouldn't be built when the users aren't prepared to pay for them. Politicians are looking for ways to make you pay for a road that you don't use - this is a small example ($1 billion) that is about having a cool head and saying no. Labour isn't saying no, but passing it on to local government (and giving it petrol tax raising powers!), Peter Dunne is addicted to this road, and National wont say anything because it doesn't like saying no. Wellington can't afford an Aston Martin.

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