2013 update

Please note the information on this page details YCATs 2008 campaign relating to Sir Rod Eddingtons Investing in Transport report.

For regular updates on YCATs 2013 campaign related to the  Baillieu  Napthine government’s proposed East West road link, please refer to;

Cost-Benefit of the Road Tunnel

Even Eddington’s report showed that cost of the road tunnel exceeded its benefits, even when “wider economic benefits” are included. These wider benefits, like those used to justify the heavily subsidised Melbourne Grand Prix are never defined. Eddington’s consultants used very low predictions for the price of oil, and carbon. A realistic assessment of these prices would lead to a reduction in revenue, as is occurring on toll ways around the world, including the newly opened EastLink.

Non-economic justifications for the Road Tunnel include

The terms of reference definitely pointed to a particular solution for what was perceived to be the problem. The Macquarie Bank have more power in the ALP than any faction” -Peter Fitzgerald, Public-Private Partnership expert , [Quoted in TMT Oct 10, 2007].

Ferrovial objects to BAA break-up plan By Mark Mulligan in Madrid [August 20 2008]
…Added to Ferrovial’s woes in the UK has been the sharp construction downturn in Spain, where the company remains an important player. Traffic volumes at Cintra, its toll road subsidiary, are also  deteriorating as motorists around the world tighten their belts. Analysts say Ferrovial’s first-half results, to be published next month, are likely to be bleak.

Fitch Lowers Roads, Airports [TrafficWorld 8/20/2008] Also reported in The bond buyer.
The Fitch Ratings agency, raising the possibility that the weak economy could trigger permanent changes in U.S. transportation networks, downgraded the credit outlook for airports and toll roads to negative on Wednesday.

Fitch cited rising energy costs and a weakening economy the agency said are prompting a dramatic shift in travel patterns. Traffic on toll roads has declined 16 percent this year, Fitch said, while passenger enplanements have declined 18 percent. The declines vary widely around the country, the agency said, but “appears to be the most challenging” for toll roads and airports in the Southeast.

Titled “U.S. Transportation Assets: Facing a Temporary Decline or a Permanent Change?” the report reflects growing concern that higher energy costs may cause more than short-term shifts in transportation patterns. For managers of toll roads and airports, the report offers more than a dour view.

Tougher credit terms could make funding more difficult for many operators, choking off expansion and investment plans. The agency said it is also studying the impact of economic changes on public transit systems and seaports but that the outlook for those now remains stable.

Environmental groups sue federal agencies over San Onofre toll road

Toll Road touched by driving cutbacks [Chicago Post-Tribune, August 19, 2008]

MIG bashed for value cut [The Age, August 22, 2008]

MACQUARIE Infrastructure Group has suffered one of its worst one-day drubbings after the toll-road group slashed the book value of its assets by $1.7 billion. Securities in MIG closed down 14¢ at $2.49, having slumped as much as 44¢, or 17%, in morning trade, after the company shocked investors by announcing the book value of its portfolio of toll roads had fallen from $10.2 billion to $8.6 billion in the second half.

This had led to a fall in MIG’s net asset value per share from $4.59 to $3.84. The company blamed the devaluation on changing “risk premiums” on several of its roads. MIG also said it would sell its 50% stake in Sydney’s M7, to help fund the buyback of 10% of its stock. But MIG chief executive John Hughes denied it was part of a wider strategy by Macquarie eventually to delist underperforming funds.

Toll Road Giant Buys Newspapers to Silence Critics []
Critics charge that the Macquarie purchase of American Consolidated Media is designed to silence critics of a Texas toll road project.

Australian toll road giant Macquarie agreed Wednesday to purchase forty local newspapers, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, for $80 million. Macquarie Bank is Australia’s largest capital raising firm and has invested billions in purchasing roads in the US, Canada and UK. Most recently the company joined with Cintra Concesiones of Spain in a controversial 75-year lease of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road.

Sal Costello, the leading opponent of toll road projects as head of the Texas Toll Party, says the move is directly related to a 4000-mile toll road project known as the Trans-Texas Corridor. It will cost between $145 and $183 billion to construct the road, expected to be up to 1200 feet wide, requiring the acquisition of 9000 square miles of land in the areas through which it will pass.

“The newspapers are the main communication tool for many of the rural Texan communities, with many citizens at risk of losing their homes and farms through eminent domain,” Costello wrote.

Many of the small papers purchased, most have a circulation of 5000 or less, have been critical of the Trans-Texas Corridor. An article in the Bonham Journal for example, states, “The toll roads will be under control of foreign investors, which more than frustrates Texans.”

Drivers desert EastLink as rail network overflows, [The Age, August 8, 2008]

Federal Infrastructure Australia Fund

Opposition tax tactics to hurt $20b fund [Canberra Times, 1st Sept 2008]

Mr Albanese and the chairman of Infrastructure Australia, Sir Rod Eddington,
called yesterday for ideas from the public and business community for national
building projects.

Mr Albanese said they would take submissions up to October 15 for ideas for
projects on roads, railways, ports, water and energy utilities and
telecommunications for possible inclusion on the National Infrastructure
Priority List.

”I urge the community to take this opportunity to have their say. After all,
the quality of the nation’s infrastructure affects the bottom line of all
businesses and the quality of life of all citizens,” he said.

”We are asking people to look beyond their own street or neighbourhood and to
put forward ideas and suggestions that will strengthen the national economy.”
Sir Rod said he would issue a discussion paper today to stimulate ideas.
Infrastructure Australia’s immediate tasks were to conduct an audit of the
nation’s transport, energy, communications and water infrastructure, produce a
priority list and develop guidelines for public private partnerships.

The link to the relevant section of Infrastructure Australia’s website is:

Planning NAFTA Superhighways at the End of the Age of Oil [Road Scholar]

A Current Affair’s Toll Challenge

On September 15th, 2008 , Current Affair tested out toll roads versus main roads to see which is quicker and how much money you’ll actually save – one expert saying nearly $1,000 a year.

ACA concluded toll roads were “a scam”. [Aired Ch 9, 15th September, 2008]

Demonstrating that building major roads creates rather than solves congestion.