Michael Pascoe writes:

The dud performance of the Cross City
Tunnel is costing its shareholders plenty, as disclosed by Cheung Kong
Infrastructure
writing down its $110 equity to just $8 million. There’s similar pain for its
partners, including industry superannuation funds.

There’s also been a rumour that the tunnel
company neglected to forewarn its bankers that it was halving the toll –
something that calls for an injection of capital given the way the funnel is
failing to meet targets. But that’s only money – what concerns
Premier Dilemma is the on-going political price he might pay come the election
next March.

As we’ve previously mentioned The SMH
reporting, that might be compounded if the Lane Cove Tunnel opens ahead of the
election with a similar reaction to the planned road closures. Again, as we’ve
covered, any suggestion of delaying the opening has been denied.

The Lane Cove Tunnel folks – pretty much
the same shareholders as the Cross City Tunnel – won’t put a date on when the
opening will occur, but you’d be pretty safe on betting it will be in December
sometime, January at the latest.

Luckily for Premier Dilemma, he has nothing
to fear from that – because the road narrowing and funnelling won’t happen at
the same time as the tunnel is opened. The builders have another six months to
take Epping Road down to one lane in each direction plus bus lanes – which means
there will be no pre-poll pain.

The Lane Cove Tunnel will open with a
month’s free driving, the world will be a brighter and better place on Epping Road,
the election will be held… and then Epping Road
will be sliced and diced. Nice.

Peter Fray

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