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M50 takes its Toll

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By any standard, NTR has already been well-remunerated for its investments in the M50 West-Link toll bridges. The southbound bridge which opened in 2003 at a cost of �23 million places the proposed payment of �600 million to NTR in context.

Assuming that this bridge handles half the West- Link traffic, NTR's return would be about 13 times the initial investment even before past revenues and future inflation are taken into account.  How can this be justified?

It is noteworthy that negotiations on tolls for the second bridge took place after the huge surge in traffic during 1996-7 so it wasn't as if traffic and profit projections were being made in a vacuum as was the case for the first bridge.

Furthermore, the buyback appears to have been negotiated around toll revenues rather than NTR's projected net profits which would be substantially lower.

This deal - and all prior agreements with NTR - should be thoroughly investigated by the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee of Public Accounts before one brass cent is paid over.

As part of these investigations, the barriers must be lifted on a trial basis to establish the level of disruption caused by tolling delays and to check whether NTR is providing tolling facilities that are adequate for the current levels of traffic as per its operating agreements.

Letter published in the Sunday Business Post on 4th March 2007.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian published on March 2, 2007 4:49 PM.

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