November 29, 2017

Expensive road is expensive

Under the headline Auckland residents prepared to pay to fix congested road, Bernard Orsman writes about an AA survey of residents of the Devonport peninsula.  There were three options for upgrading Lake Road, costing $10 million, $40 million, or $70 million.  Of the roughly half of respondents who preferred the $70 million proposal, about half (ie, 25% of people) were willing to pay targeted rates, and two-thirds of these (17%) were willing to pay $50 -$200/year.

“People are willing to pay something extra, but they want to see it happening faster as a result. AA members want to see benefits within the next five years – not 10,”

One calculation that’s left for the reader is how much would actually be needed to make up the difference between a $40m and $70m budget.  According to the local free paper, there are 8,328 households in the Devonport peninsula.  At $200/year each, that’s $1.6m/year.  Over ten years, that’s about half the gap — which might actually be reasonable.  On the other hand, $50/year each for 5 years is less than 10% of the gap — and most weren’t willing to support even this, in a survey where it didn’t actually cost anything.

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Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient

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