We’ve been LABOURing over this cabinet report LEAK about the financial black hole emerging in the city’s white elephant BRT bus project.
The report that we’re publishing and which has no council managers’ name anywhere near it to take ownership and responsibility for the shambles, lists a series of overspends due to the inflated FINANCIAL DEMANDS of corporate civil engineering firms for work on the Ashton Vale – Temple Meads bus route.
So far, before any work has even begun, costs for works on the Ashton Avenue Bridge; bridges at the Bathurst Basin due to Fergo’s rerouting plans and on the so-called “Cumberland Busway” (Cumberland Road to me and you) amount to £9.12m MORE than was originally budgeted for.
The council’s proposals for covering these losses are equally interesting.
One plan is to shave £2.4m off the budget by a REDUCING FLOOD DEFENCE measures along the New Cut on Cumberland Road.
Another is to TARGET PEDESTRIANS and not bother with street lighting, except at bus stops, over the whole route. Another is to inexplicably “reduce the cost of city centre work” for the BRT scheme by £1.1m. Yet more corners cut then.
Another is to simply reallocate £1.5m to “OTHER SCHEMES”, which is likely to be transport budgets – so don’t expect any new pedestrian crossings any time soon in your community.
Yet another is to “reallocate” £0.4m from the CYCLING AMBITION FUND and spend it on the Bathurst Basin bridges. In other words money for cycling will be spent on buses!
A further £1.1m will be absorbed by “ADDITIONAL FUNDING”, whatever that is.
Is all this legal? Council budgets raided and tax payers money diverted – in secret – to corporations on the authority of unsigned confidential council cabinet reports?
The full report is here: BRT leak