The cost of private tollways
Victorian Opposition leader Robert Doyle has been forced to abandon his promise to make the Scoresby freeway toll-free. What’s really interesting about the Age report on the subject is that it starts by referring to a “$2 billion” project, but ends by referring to an Econtech report saying it would cost $4.3 billion to buy out the private contractor. Roughly speaking the first figure is the actual construction cost and the second is the present value of the amount the public will have to pay (the Bracks government estimated the latter figure at $7 billlion). This is a fine example of the excess cost associated with PPPs and private tollways.
In any case, a toll on a road of this kind makes no economic sense. What is needed is congestion pricing, as in London. Having announced an inquiry into ‘radical’ methods of addressing congestion, the Bracks government has ruled out the only workable solution in advance