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Saturday, July 10, 2010


Brooklyn Bridge - traditionally sold to the gulible

Lets compare the officially produced costs of a tunnel (100 times what they are elsewhere) with the officially produced costs of a bridge. While them being the same wouldn't prove they were both, or either, honest if they sharply differ on the same points then we must be seeing deliberate fraud.

The costings for the current Forth Bridge at £2,300 million are on page 43 here.

I did an FoI enquiry into the extraordinarily high tunnel cost of £4,673 million a few years ago (at the time a larger bridge was being proposed ad £4.2 bn & the difference looked consistent with it being artificially done to make the bridge price look good) & the costings are here.
Bridge costs in bold, tunnel in italics.

North Network Connections £128m
South Network Connections $62m
Bridge £543m
Junction 1a, M9 £39m
Intelligent Transport Systems (Fife) £11m
Employer’s Costs £115m
Sub-total £898m
so £355m of that on roads
Road Network £ 355 million so precisely the same though since the entry points of a tunnel can be varied whereas a bridge is fixed one would expect tunnel access roads to be cheaper. Indeed it is perfectly possible to start the tunnel beside or very close to the existing bridge access roads thus making road costs close to zero.
Cost of actually building the tunnel £ 1,023 million so ££480 million more than the actual construction cost of the bridge. No further breakdown is given of this & it is 25 times the cost at which numerous tunnels have already been cut.

Risk Allowance £115m
Optimism Bias Allowance £169m
so total £284
Optimism Bias £ 456m 60% greater

Non-recoverable VAT £163m
VAT at 17.5% £ 353m So VAT on a tunnel is double that on baridge. Who would have thought it? Or perhaps half of it is recoverable but inexplicably when costing the tunnel this was accidentally not noticed.

10% extra contingency fee £ 183m No equivalent cost for the bridge.

Total Estimated Capital Costs £1,345m
subtotal £ 2,018m

Addition for Median Estimate of Construction Inflation £529m
allowance for 7.5% inflation £ 1,655m So inflation is going to be more than 3 times higher if we cut a tunnel than build a bridge. Perhaps Holyrood could use this as an argument for more subsidy - just tell David Cameron that if they pay to build 2 bridges inflation will cut to zero ;-)

Transport Scotland budget £ 100m No equivalent item for the bridge. Presumably the Transport Ministry will be taking no role in overseeing a bridge but really need to spend £ 100 million on administering a tunnel which is, to repeat, 2 1/2 times what the tunnel could actually cost to build if built by Norwegians.

Addition for Cost of Capital Charge £170n
capital charges £ 545m So again the "capital charges" whatever they are are officially more than 3 times as much for a tunnel as for a bridge. Of course if we just hired the Norwegians they would be responsible for all extras & this charge would be zero.

Total Estimated Outturn Cost £2,044m with a top possible of £2.300m
Total £ 4,673m

So there you are. Unless the Scottish government is extremely corrupt & engaged in wholesale lying & fraud both the VAT rate & the inflation rate in Britain are guaranteed to be far lower if the Scottish government build a bridge; there will be immensely higher capital costs if building a bridge; the Transport Ministry won't incur any costs in administering it; & the Norwegian Tunnels which cost 100th the total given here simply can't exist.

Does anybody believe any of that?

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