We live in a country which is notorious for overcharging the tax-payer and under-delivering on quality and quantity: and amidst the cuts it would seem to make sense for the government to examine why Britain consistently pays over the odds for all it’s public infrastrucutre projects.
A good example is the ‘new’ Forth Road Bridge: the current bridge – despite being less than 50 years old it’s now at the end of it’s life – bear in mind the Golden Gate Bridge is now entering it’s 80th decade straddling a fault line, and closer to home the Forth Railway bridge is now 120 years old and still faithfully performing the task for which it was originally built.
Looking at the plans for the replacement bridge a 2.2km long concrete and steel affair with the aesthetic complexity of a cardboard box you do wonder why the original bridge was engineered to be such a short-life structure, especially when you note the estimated cost of it’s replacement which from the government figures presently stands at £4.2 billion.
How on gods great earth can a 2.2km bridge cost £4.2 billion? It’s a farce.
Let’s just look across the North Sea to our European neighbour Denmark, where the completed Fehmarn Belt Bridge which is nearly ten times longer at 19km serving both and rail traffic came in at a cool €4.7 billion (that’s £3.9 billion just in case you can’t be arsed to google it).
Just exactly how can our government continue to accept figures which are clearly more value both for local regions and the greater public purse? The idea of allowing contractors to abuse the public purse either through under-bidding and then over-running on costs or building in margins of up to 80% is ludicrous.
They’re pissing our money up the wall – and we’re allowing them to continue: despite many many ministers and opposition MPs having involvements with construction and infrasturcture companies, despite being the 6th largest economy in the world with all the buying power that brings, despite having lower wages that for instance, Denmark, despite times of austerity where they’re taxing us more and delivering less, despite being told their ‘is no more money’.
This madness must stop. Now.
We are falling behind in Europe because our infrastructure is poor: if we want to change that in an increasingly competitive world we must now demand that our politicians stop treating our money like a teenager treats a parent’s Gold Card.