SkyPath a very risky proposition for stretched ratepayers

Published: Fri 3 Jul 2015 12:35 PM
Friday, 3 July 2015
SkyPath a very risky proposition for already-stretched ratepayers
News that the $33.5m SkyPath for the Auckland Harbour Bridge has been granted resource consent should make already-stretched ratepayers very wary, says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.
“I’m all for the private sector funding new capital projects, but the worry with SkyPath is that ratepayers could be liable for any operational shortfalls if very ambitious patronage targets are not met.
“In the past it has been proposed that perhaps ratepayers could make up the financial shortfall if patronage numbers fall below 75% of forecast. That’s a real worry when the promoters have forecast annual numbers at 781,384 – that’s over 2,000 users a day on average in the first year alone! What’s more, promoters believe numbers will then continue to rocket to supposedly over 2.1 million users annually. It’s pie in the sky stuff.
“Getting this project to this stage has already cost ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultancy, legal fees, grants and contributions. And let’s not forget all the additional costs ratepayers can also expect to fund with all the required infrastructure and amenity at each end of the bridge and further connections.
“If the promoters and supporters are so confident of SkyPath’s success then they should carry the risk themselves.
“Auckland ratepayers should not be asked to underwrite this project because one thing’s for sure they will be called upon to fund any shortfalls. The Mayor now needs to rule out any underwriting by Auckland ratepayers who are already facing significant rates increases,” says Cameron Brewer.

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