Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Why it would cost $50 per crossing for cyclist bridge


“Each crossing of the proposed new Auckland cycle bridge will cost $50,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“I asked Jacinda Ardern today if she would continue to support the cycleway if it cost $10 a crossing. She said she expects there to be 3000 cyclists a day, that would be $12.50 a crossing.

“That figure is based on Infrastructure New Zealand claiming the only cost involved is a two per cent interest payment on capital, and 5,000 cyclists per day.

“In reality the cost would be much higher. The Government applies a capital charge to entities such as DHBs of six per cent to better reflect the cost of using Government Capital. Applying the same rule to the bridge would take the cost to $37.50 per trip.

“The costs don’t stop there, the Government needs to allow for depreciation and eventual replacement of the bridge. Straight-line depreciation over 50 years would add a further $12.50 per day in depreciation costs.

“The bridge would also require operation and maintenance costs. If we generously assume someone could be contracted to operate and maintain a kilometre-long bridge for a million dollars per year, that is about a dollar per trip. Of course the real cost will be higher.

“Altogether, with the cost of capital, depreciation, operation, and maintenance, the cost of the bridge for 3,000 cyclists per day would be over $50.

“Of course, the Government may well assume that ridership will grow over time and apply a discount rate to reduce the lifecycle cost of the bridge, but in the absence of such assumptions and analysis, $50 per crossing is a reasonable starting point.

“I also asked the Prime Minister is there was any cost that would stop her going ahead with the new bridge and she simply replied that she thinks in future there could be more cyclists who use it.

“Infrastructure should be prioritised based on need and a full cost benefit analysis, not just the hope that other people might use it one day.

“We know all the cycleways built by both National and Labour Governments because it was the trendy thing to do and they haven’t attracted masses of new cyclists.

“We should be building infrastructure based on sound cost benefit analysis, not just because the lycra lobby says it’s a good idea.”