Transport Agency deceptive and misleading about flyover costs, says campaigner

Media release from Save the Basin Reserve
The NZ Transport Agency needs to come clean about the true costs for its Basin Reserve flyover, says Kent Duston, Convener of the Save The Basin Reserve campaign. “In recent media statements, Rod James from the NZ Transport Agency has been continually understating the likely costs for their preferred flyovers, whilst deliberately over-stating the costs for the Architecture Centre’s innovative Option X solution. This sort of deceptive and misleading behavior from the Agency is clearly not in the public interest.”

Mr Duston pointed out that Mr James was stating costs of $75million for its preferred Option A flyover, compared to up to $165million for Option X – and that this was intentionally misleading.

“The $75 million for the flyover is the lowest possible cost for the project. According to the Agency’s own figures, the range of costs for Option A runs from $75 million to $90 million, plus $8 million for the pedestrian and cycle lanes, plus $11 million in payoff to the Basin Reserve Trust for a new stand. Basic maths tells you that the total is likely to exceed $110 million before the inevitable cost overruns.”

“This means that the difference in price between the Agency’s flyover and the Architecture Centre’s tunnels is around $50 million – or about 8% of the total $600 million budget for the so-called “Wellington Inner City Transport Improvements” project”, says Mr Duston.

“And let’s not forget that the cost of the flyover was originally estimated at only $27 million back in 2007”, says Mr Duston. “Since then, the Agency’s costs have risen at five times the rate of inflation – which begs the question: were the original numbers intentionally misleading, or is the NZ Transport Agency just exceptionally poor at budget management?”

Mr Duston noted that the last project in the area run by the NZ Transport Agency – the Inner City Bypass – finally came in 60% over-budget. “Clearly the NZ Transport Agency has a poor track record of good estimation and effective budget management in central Wellington”, says Mr Duston. “In comparison, the costings for the Architecture Centre’s Option X have been compiled by a reputable and independent firm of Quantity Surveyors – whose services I can heartily recommend to Mr James.”

“It’s clear that there are differences in cost between the Agency’s low-quality flyover and the innovative Option X”, says Mr Duston. “But if you compare apples with apples, it’s apparent that the differences are not nearly as material as Mr James is pretending.”


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