When the West of Englands four Transport Executive members meet at the Council House on Thursday, one tiny item on the long agenda will ask them to 'note' - ie approve - what their staff are doing to push the South Bristol Ring Road forward. They're told that after a second round of public and stakeholder engagement this November, Members will subsequently receive a further report seeking approval to submit a bid to DfT in March 2010.
So it's verdict first, evidence later. Again. Except there's not even any prospect of reliable evidence to give some after-the-event credibility to this bid.
The one scheme on offer wasn't tested in the costly 'Options Appraisal' report commissioned a year ago from Mott MacDonald. Even the 'do minimum' scenario (a forecast that assumes that new initiatives like a Hengrove-North Fringe rapid transit, the Callington Road Link, and a Barrow Gurney bypass go ahead) didn't get fully assessed.
'Do Minimum', as you may have read on this very blog, is always an option (except, of course, in the current consultation documents)
So... if you were a DfT civil servant, weighing up competing demands for government cash that's nowhere near enough to cover everything, would you entertain this bid for a moment? It's not been appraised, the consultation is a mockery, there's no attempt to answer the Big Question: "What do we get from this scheme that we wouldn't get anyway?" Looks like an easy decision....
Cue for a nudge to the assembled Transport Execs, before they give the nod to this ill-advised stitch-up attempt. My own attempt comes in this 'Public Forum Statement' which, the partnership promises, "will be considered when that item is discussed"
Statement re S. Bristol Ring Road, Nov 09