You might remember that last month, I appeared on the Late Late Show to make what I thought was a tempting offer to National Toll Roads (watch here). As a Senator, I get an allowance for political campaigns. I used this allowance to send toll boss Jim Barry a cheque for €10,000, asking him to use it to open the West-Link barriers for a specified time.
The purpose? To test his unchallenged assertion that opening the West-Link barriers to traffic would make no difference. The cheque was sent to fund any loss of revenue to poor NTR.
Jim politely told me to stuff my 10 grand – and then he failed to return the cheque! I am still waiting…
The findings could have contradicted NTR spin that the toll barriers are now doing the nation a social service. No, Jim turned down the offer because the outcome might be a public relations disaster. Imagine if the traffic flowed faster at peak, or even non-peak hours when the gates were opened? And I believe it would.
Instead, NTR continue to talk up their green credentials and targets for “biofuels” and alternative energy sources. But the overwhelming source of their income are the tolls! So my offer was a reminder of something they’d prefer we wouldn’t associate with them.
What an awful distraction from their mission to save the planet.