Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Billions at risk - the tunnel farce laid bare: " Just days before he was sacked, the chief of the Roads and Traffic Authority, Paul Forward, told the State Government that reversing the traffic plans for the Cross City Tunnel could trigger damages "so great" that it might be better to buy out the contract. In frank advice to the Minister for Roads, Joe Tripodi, two weeks ago, Mr Forward revealed how financially crippling it would be if the Government tried to alter the arrangements that funnel traffic into the $680 million tunnel."

"As well as the tunnel cost, the Government would be liable for the future profits envisaged when the deal was signed in 2003. In the final years of the 30-year tunnel contract, profits are predicted to be more than $130 million a year. It means the total exposure could run close to $2 billion."

But what if oil production peaks and goes into irrreversible decline, triggering rising prices and demand destruction? Is there really going to be large profits 20 or 30 years from now?

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