Saturday 20th of July 2019

The Highwayman Went Riding

 
Fresh from the elections, Premier Rann is now chastising the RAA (our equivalent of NRMA and RACV) of acting like a political party during the election, and questioning the government's relationship with the peak body, in spite of their denials of heavy-handedness.  Rann may well have saved the state from a major Halliburton gambit.

Given the intrinsic nature of roadway infrastructure to urban planning and
thence property development, in some cases the speed of the arrival
involves a helluva lot of money. A good example is to the south of our
town, where the previously tourist based coastline has been subjected
to a whirlwind of purchase and redevelopment ahead of one of the
state's worst-kept secrets, the proposed four-lane road (tollway?)
being re-championed by the RAA and Liberals a couple of weeks back, and planned by "guess which
company". Certainly parts of the road, on which I travel regularly, are
a death-trap, and a road built in the 50's isn't equipped to handle the
transport loads it now carries. However, the cynic in me can't help
wondering if these issues might be of secondary importance to the
profitability levels of new housing being created for the "population
influx" that the new "dormitory distance" to Adelaide that the new road
would create.

The combination of this and another new road , from Victor Harbour, past the area that I described
(which has since sadly been slated for housing development, 12
townhouses on the wetland) in this Webiary piece, would create an industry-suitable transport corridor from Adelaide's
southern suburbs to the regional city of Murray Bridge, and from there
northwards to the expanded uranium mines (have a skim on Google Earth)
and eastward to Melbourne and Sydney.

There's potentially billions of dollars riding on the laying of a couple of
strips of asphalt, that industry might have paid for through tolls.
Does Rann's announcement signal a delay in all this activity, or that
other means of funding, such as directly taxing the commercial
profit-makers, will now be used instead of charging the “average”
motorist?

Plan the thing, tender for the building contract, collect the "rent"
for the next fifty years or so. How can you go wrong? When the local
business community puts its money into electing a leader who plans to
stop you.

Halliburton's tollway activities in other parts of the world won't be replicated here.

Newly elected  Premier Rann, whose government has been endorsed by the South Australian business community, is returning to power bearing in his hand a signed decree of the  banning of tollways!drew my eye very quickly,  My nightmares of South Australia going down the path of Ireland appear to have been averted. Consider these words;

...in June, 2004 the KBR consortium, DirectRoute, was awarded the contract to design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) the N8 Rathcormac-Fermoy bypass by the National Roads Authority in Ireland. The project is part of the NRA's public private partnership (PPP) roads programme in
Ireland. KBR is the engineering, construction and services subsidiary of Halliburton (HAL: NYSE).

The DirectRoute consortium consists of KBR Ltd, Strabag AG, John Sisk & Son (Holdings) Ltd, Lagan Holdings Ltd, Roadbridge Ltd. and the
First Irish Infrastructure Fund (a joint AIB/European Investment Bank
fund established for the purpose of investing in PPP projects and
private sector infrastructure developments in Ireland and across
Europe).

KBR is currently construction supervisor for the design and
construction of the £350m Dublin Port Tunnel” The recent Comptroller and Auditor General report looking into the roads programme, originally estimated at €7 billion, now expects it to cost €16.4 billion, and
rising. It noted that the 2000 estimated cost of the Dublin Port Tunnel  ose from €220m to €580m in 2002.

Poor old Halliburton- they'll have to be content with running the naval shipyard and the railway.

Incidentally one of the members of the above-mentioned European Investment Bank's Financial Policies and Operations Committee at the time was (still is?) former Australian Defence Minister Peter Reith.  Is he gaining informatin to defend Australia?  I doubt it.