The Law of Large Numbers – How much does it cost to stop a freeway?

Big ticket: Victorian premier Daniel Andrews (centre) and treasurer Tim Pallas answering questions about the decision to abandon the East West Link project in April 2015. Joe Castro/AAP Image

Honest figures about cancelling East West Link, with an attempt to include everyone else’s time and expenses.

Inside Story: The Law of Large Numbers by James Murphy (2 July 2018)

If, like me, you’ve been following the fallout from Melbourne’s East West Link freeway fiasco, you will have noticed that the bill for the Andrews government’s decision to stop the project somehow keeps growing. In April 2015, cancelling the contracts was going to cost the state $339 million in compensation. In December 2015, the ABC reported that the price tag had risen to $1.1 billion. Last week the Age had the cost reaching $1.3 billion.

Victorians will be relieved to hear that the real number is nothing like $1.3 billion. Publicly available information shows that the cost directly incurred by cancelling the contracts was $527,600,000 — a lot of money, but less than half the Age’s figure. That’s $339 million in compensation to the private sector for costs incurred (including compo for losing bids to build it); $81 million in bank fees for a facility set up for the project; $217 million in losses on swaps and other hedges; $600,000 spent by the government on legal and consulting fees to get out of the thing; and subtract from that $110 million in cash returned to state coffers. The figure has shifted a little — some of the bank fees and swaps have fluctuated in price or been repurposed for other projects — but it has remained well short of the billion-dollar mark. Read more

Urgent: North East Link feedback by 5pm Monday 18 September

Stop me, oh, stop me.  Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before

Stop me, oh, stop me. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before

Following up from last weeks update concerning North East Link, if you have a spare ten minutes you can make it count *right now* – we have until 5pm Monday 18 September! See below for ideas, links & where to send your feedback.

Read more: Zombie Project hidden in North East Link Option A?

Please contact us (info@ycat.org.au) if you know of any upcoming local events, tips, corrections, contributions and please share this with fellow residents and local groups.

1. North East Link: What we know – There are four proposed routes:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-08/north-east-link-four-corridor-options-compared/8782898

https://jointheconversation.northeastlink.vic.gov.au/shape-north-east-link

https://jointheconversation.northeastlink.vic.gov.au/corridorA

Of immediate concern to Melbourne’s inner north residents is the proposed Option A: the shortest, most direct and, almost certainly, the cheapest – connecting to the Eastern Freeway.

Impacts:

  • Up to ten years of construction along the Eastern Freeway,
  • More congestion, pollution and noise for the inner suburbs,
  • Possibility of the Eastern Freeway being tolled,
  • More traffic into the Eastern Freeway – is this building the case, by stealth, for yet another version of the East West Link, to potentially connect with proposed West Gate Tunnel?
  • Proposed Option A route is through environmentally sensitive areas (one of Melbourne “green wedges’) and will severely impact upon numerous homes, businesses and heritage areas in Bulleen, Bellevue, Balwyn North, Kew East.
  • Possible removal of the Doncaster Rail reserve along Eastern Fwy and future East Kew and Bulleen Station sites.

From Say NO to North East Link Option A​: There can be no tunnelled connection to the Eastern Freeway due to the steep grades (about 8%) that would be required to take a tunnel under the Eastern Freeway, then pop up and connect to it prior to Doncaster road. There can be no tunnel portal south of Bolin Bolin/Marcellin, as the flyover ramps would still have the same problem. All possible connections to the Eastern Freeway are above ground and involve property acquisitions in Bulleen/Balwyn North.

Additional information: Samantha Dunn​ – The North East Link Just Won’t Work

At $10-$23 billion, the North East Link will be Victoria’s most expensive road ever but:

  • Another new toll road just encourages more cars
  • This road will divide communities no matter which route
  • Traffic will be funnelled to a few on-ramps, creating congestion
  • Trucking companies will avoid the tolls and rat-run through our neighbourhoods.
  • Sensitive environmental areas and cultural sites will be damaged
  • Oversized trucks and dangerous goods will still use Rosanna Road as they will be banned from tunnels.

The Solution

  • Investing in a public transport system that works is the best way to get cars off the road and decrease congestion:
  • Our money is better spent on public transport improvements such as:
  • Duplicating the Hurstbridge line
  • Better, quicker signalling on Hurstbridge and Mernda lines
  • More frequent and better connected bus services
  • Public transport won’t carve up the Green Wedge or Banyule Flats

2. Make your North East Link feedback by 5pm, 18 September 2017

Note: email address required to register

https://jointheconversation.northeastlink.vic.gov.au/corridor-options

https://jointheconversation.northeastlink.vic.gov.au/take-our-quick-survey

More contact information: http://northeastlink.vic.gov.au/about/contact

3. Have another five minutes? Please email your North East Link feedback & concerns to the following:

Yarra City Council​: please mention Yarra Councils strong advocacy for Doncaster Rail during their Trains Not Toll Roads campaign against East West Link (2013-2015)  Email: info@yarracity.vic.gov.au, crs@yarracity.vic.gov.au

Member for Melbourne: Ellen Sandell, Ph: 9328 4637, Email: ellen.sandell@parliament.vic.gov.au

Member for Richmond: Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, Ph: 9415 8901, Email: Richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Jenny Mikakos Ph: 9462 3966, Email: jenny.mikakos@parliament.vic.gov.au

Greg Barber Ph: 9348 2622, Email: greg.barber@parliament.vic.gov.au

Fiona Patten Ph: 9386 4400, Email: fiona.patten@parliament.vic.gov.au

Zombie Project hidden in North East Link Option A?

So you’ve heard about the proposed North East Link, but do you know about the options? Option A , one of the proposed options looks alarming for Collingwood, Fitzroy, Carlton & Clifton Hill residents, as it involves not constructing the remainer of the ring road, but building a freeway between Bulleen and Greensborough.

Option A will bring a huge amount of traffic into the city via the Eastern Freeway and could appear to be another attempt to ‘justify’ everyone’s least favourite zombie project, East West Link.

Other North East Link options would keep east-west traffic out of the city, obviously we do not support their construction, but they won’t threaten the inner suburbs the way Option A could. If built, Option A would create more traffic at Alexandra Parade at Hoddle Street, stretching beyond the existing peak commute times.

See below for NEL feedback links and please contact YCAT if you have additional ideas about any of the NEL options.

Please consider joining Residents United Against NE Link A​ to support them & stay up to date with local events.

Have your feedback here: https://jointheconversation.northeastlink.vic.gov.au/corridor-options/forum_topics/corridor-options

Upcoming event: Have your Say on North East Link: from Residents United Against NE Link A

  • 7pm -8.45pm, Tuesday 12 September
  • Venue: Kew High School Renaissance Theatre, 826 High St, Kew East
  • Community forum hosted by Boroondara Council
  • This is the community’s last opportunity to have a say
  • Note Submissions to NELA close on 18 September 2017
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