OK, so toll road may or may not be of value.
So, how do we try and work out whether it is of value?
In the spring of 2006 it attracted just under 60,000 drivers a day. By the start of this year, the figure had fallen to just over 40,000, marginally more than when the toll opened.
Those who are willing to pay can enjoy a far quicker journey during the rush hour, especially when travelling southbound when using the relief road takes around 40 minutes – about half the time needed on the M6.
But at other times the time saving is marginal – in many cases little more than five minutes. This, the Campaign says, means the toll is poor value for the motorists.
Well, we could use whatever measure the Campaign for Better Transport is using, this is true. They don’t think that saving between 40 and 5 minutes is worth £5. Fine, that’s their view.
However, we don’t actually run the country on the valuations of the Campaign for Better Transport. We try, as hard as we can, to run the country on the valuations of us, the hoi polloi, the citizenry.
And it would appear that 40,000 people a day do think that a saving of 40 minutes to 5 minutes is worth £5. Which means that whatever the Campaign for Better Transport think, it is worth it, it is of value, to those 40,000 people.
That, of course, is not the full picture. For now we have to try and find out whether the provision of the infrastucture is worth the value that it provides to those 40,000 people. What’s the cost to put against that £200,000 a day of value?
No, I’ve no idea what the toll road cost to build. But we have one thing we can look at:
Macquarie who built the toll described it as one of the jewels in the crown.
That would at least indicate that the people who built and run it are making a profit: that the income they get from selling what people are happy to pay for is higher than the cost of providing what people are happy to pay for.
We thus have added value.
The people using the road are gaining more value, which we can measure by their willingness to pay for it, than it cost to provide what those users are valuing.
So, the toll road is “worth it”, whatever the Campaign for Better Transport say about it.
For, you see, value is not what is defined by the Campaign for Better Transport. Value is, instead, what we ourselves decide is valuable, we peasantry as we spend our hard earned spondoolies.
So the rail unions, who part fund the Campaign for Better Transport, can fuck off quite frankly.