It appears as though National has set aside the necessary funding for the below-track works in the 2009 Budget. Page 41 of the “Vote Transport” includes the following:

electrification-funding Now I’m a little confused by this. Is this $663 million just for ProjectDART activities (double-tracking of the Western Line and other rail upgrades that have been ongoing for years now)? Is it for the below-track upgrades necessary for electrification, which includes stringing up the wires and raising/lowering bridges or tracks where necessary? This money hasn’t been trumpeted much by the government in the budget either, which makes me suspicious.

What the money certainly isn’t, is sufficient funding to purchase the electric trains. Seems like Steven Joyce has a delusion that funding through Private-Public Partnerships might be a good idea. Experience suggests otherwise.

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  1. I went through the estimates as well, and compared them with last years in vote finance – I think this is the combination of the $ left in the original appropriation for DART, and the Auckland share of the money that was labeled for below track electrification last year (last years appropriation included some wellington projects). So no new money – the electric trains are clearly not funded.

  2. I think that must be the case. Though perhaps there’s more than $100 million of DART work left. When one thinks about the Manukau Rail Link, the rest of the Newmarket station upgrade, the New Lynn Rail trench…… etc. etc.

  3. With regards to the issue of PP funding of public infrastructure projects, in the two examples you linked to the fact that those projects were funded ubder PP arrangeemnts was not the issue – this issue was that the underlying project assumptions were flawed i.e. over-estimation of passenger numbers and under-estimation of maintenance costs. Without PP financing the cost of those projects would have had to be met by taxpayers upfront.

  4. Adham, in the case of Metronet in London the taxpayer has had to bail them out – basically they’ve ended up paying a tonne more money simply because privatising the operations of the London Underground through Metronet was a stupid idea.

  5. Comment by jarbury — May 29, 2009 @ 8:54 am

    jarbury, you make the claim that the taxpayer has ended up paying a tonne more money than it would have had the project been fully taxpayer funded upfront but provide no evidence to back this claim up. I don’t believe that the overall project costs would have been lower had this been a public run project… knowing many people that have worked for TFL in London I am aware of huge ineffciencies in the UK public sector. The fact that the shareholders and lenders of Metronet lost so much money indicates that a lot of money has been spent on it that hasn’t come from the taxpayer. In fact, this is an example of the PPP regime working as it should i.e. the private sector made it’s bid, which turned out far too cheap and ultimately the private sector paid the price. I would contend that the taxpayer is better off than if the project had been fully taxpayer funded upfront.

    The failure here was by Metronet to price the project correctly.

    There’s quite a good thread that covers all sides to the argument here:

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