Toll road the right way

In­sist trucks use Gully

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

A tolled Trans­mis­sion Gully Mo­tor­way should be the only route avail­able to trucks to re­lieve pres­sure on the coastal high­way, urges a Porirua city coun­cil­lor.

Ken Dou­glas, a former head of a truck drivers’ union, said he sup­ported a con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal to toll the in­land high­way.

But, if trans­port com­pa­nies do not force their drivers to use the Gully route, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties such as Porirua City Coun­cil will end up paying the price, he said at a com­mit­tee meet­ing last week.

‘‘We should be in­sist­ing that trucks use Trans­mis­sion Gully, oth­er­wise we are go­ing to have to main­tain the coastal road, which will be hit hard. I used to rep­re­sent truck­ies but I don’t think there should be a free de­ci­sion on which road you can use.’’

Mean­while, the Government’s de­ci­sion last week to fi­nance the $1 bil­lion project through a pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ship ( PPP) has been greeted with praise and scorn across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide.

A PPP is a long-term con­tract, in­volv­ing Government and pri­vate fund­ing, that Na­tional says will pro­vide cer­tainty around fi­nanc­ing, con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion of the project.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi said it would be more pru­dent to see the cost ben­e­fits of a PPP com­pared to a solely Government- funded pro­posal.

‘‘We don’t know what this [PPP] ap­proach is based on, it throws up ques­tions about the mo­ti­va­tion of the Government do­ing some­thing that will make pri­vate profit or really ben­e­fit­ing the pub­lic.

‘‘Any busi­ness case has to be solid and you have to re­mem­ber this is Welling­ton, not Bris­bane or Lon­don, so how do you spread the risk? What we don’t want is a failed ven­ture and a white elephant on our hands.’’

Mr Faafoi said the level of tolling could again come down to the pri­vate in­ter­ests in a PPP.

NZ Trans­port Agency chief ex­ec­u­tive Ge­off Danger­field said a PPP ‘‘opens the door for pri­vate sec­tor in­no­va­tions’’, while stress­ing full own­er­ship of the high­way would re­main in pub­lic hands.

A short-list of com­pa­nies would be made in mid- 2013 and the con­tract awarded in 2014, with con­struc­tion ex­pected to take six years.

Mr Danger­field said tolling, to be in­ves­ti­gated next year, would off­set an­nual costs and meant other projects could be pro­gressed.

The Greens’ trans­port spokes­woman Julie Anne Gen­ter said a PPP was an ex­pen­sive form of bor­row­ing – with in­ter­est paid back over 25 years – and an ‘‘ir­re­spon­si­ble use of tax­payer money’’.

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