A planned standalone cycle and walkway bridge next to the Auckland Harbour Bridge has come under fire for its cost, and a newly released figure shows the cost of it could far outweigh the benefits.
Transport Minister Michael Wood did not provide the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) when he announced the new $785m project earlier this month – but has now revealed the initial assessment by Waka Kotahi is only 0.4 to 0.6.
That meant for every dollar spent on the bridge, there would effectively be a 40 to 60 cent loss.
Wood said the figures were preliminary and were being reassessed, and expected to improve – but Act leader David Seymour said the “stupidly expensive bridge” would only get more expensive before it was finished and should be scrapped.
Talking with sources inside Cabinet from the last Government, every time Phil Twyford started raving to everyone about how wonderful Kiwibuild was going, they were quietly rolling their eyes to each other.
‘Twyfordification’ became a disparaging term to describe an MP horribly out of their depth.
Michael Wood is dangerously close to Twyfordification with this crazy bike bridge of his.
I like Michael, his nickname is ‘the Little General’. He’s kind, funny and is front bench smart, but this ill thought out bike bridge that he seemed to pull out of his arse because rich white militant pakeha cyclists stormed the Harbour Bridge is becoming more wonky as each week passes.
Think about the actual dynamics of this cycle bridge.
Commuters on the Harbour Bridge for the next 5 years watching this billion dollar glorified cycle lane grow ever slowly while they are stuck in traffic.
People will start yelling at the bridge as they drive by it. Aucklanders throwing garbage at it as they drive past will become as ubiquitous as Wellingtonians honking their horn through the tunnel.
This cycle bridge will become a performance art piece called ‘helping National win the next election’.
Does anyone actually believe Labour will build this in 5 years? We all know they can’t build one house in a room full of lego!
This will drag on and on and on.
It will become the new monument to Phil Goff’s dreaded ‘progress’ where infrastructure dooms viable use of public space for years and we all have to pretend it’s great.
Don’t get me wrong, as a Gold Star Public Transport User who has never driven a car, I support any infrastructure that pisses off car drivers.
One of the true joys in Auckland is doing the fingers to cars stuck in traffic as you whizz past them in the bus lane.
All that said, announcing a billion dollar bike bridge because militant middle class pakeha cyclists demand it is going go down like a cup of cold sick with voters who already despise Labour and who live in places where basic roading is the issue and not peddle powered self actualization.
That’s why the middle class ev car welfare testosterone tax is such smart politics.
Labour’s power electorate are the 45+ women vote who had been charmed by Key and voted National in 2017 but voted with genuine Covid response respect for Jacinda in 2020.
That electorate of 45+ women will absolutely buy an electric car and will continue to support Labour because it’s middle class welfare. The testosterone tax on Ute’s will hit men who don’t vote Labour so fuck them.
This is clever politics by Labour, it boosts and maintains the electorate whose seismic shift has given them a majority while hitting the electorate who don’t vote for them hardest.
If Labour maintains support with the 45+ female electorate, Jacinda can win the next 2 elections.
So if Labour can be so clever with the politics around using an EV middle class welfare rebate, how can they fuck it up so badly with this bloody bike bridge?
any new bridge might be short-changing cyclists anyway, because it could take so long to arrive. A mooted walk on/walk off ferry running between Akoranga and Westhaven, linking to already established cycle ways, sounds a better short term solution to me – $100m has already been allocated for land-based connections to any bridge crossing, and these could easily be extended to dedicated terminals.
And given how relatively calm the water is at the base of the harbour bridge, it could be a smooth, quick and frequent service. And why not an electric ferry, an example of which Fullers is testing soon?
Let’s assume we subsidised a dedicated cycle and pedestrian ferry to the tune of $100m. The remaining $585m saved could be put into starting a proper four-to-six-lane harbour tunnel, which could eventually free up a lane on the existing harbour bridge for cyclists and walkers.
…a ferry link up for cyclists costs a fraction of a bridge and it removes what will be a monument to bold promises with no follow through.
It concerns me that a Stuff Columnist is making more sense than a Minister.
When you have 23,687 desperate people on the public housing wait list, a billion dollar vanity project for militant middle class cyclists is outrageous.
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