Wed | Oct 18, 2017

So many white elephants

Published:Friday | May 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

A recent Facebook post explained 'sunk cost', an irrecoverable cost, in respect of the newly built North-South Highway. It underlined the report Ivan Anderson gave to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament indicating the cost of servicing the debt, maintenance cost, and the projected revenue shortfall.

Consequently, the solution, they argued, is for higher toll rates that make travelling the North-South Highway unaffordable to the average motorists that translates to fewer people using the corridor linking Kingston to the Jamaican north coast.

The economic theory of price elasticity was floated, which, in practical term, means the lower the price (toll rate), the greater the demand for the product (use of the toll road).

"I cannot, for the life of me, understand how supposedly bright people cannot see that lowering the toll rates will attract greater volumes of users is the way to go," suggested a respondent.

The conclusion is that the North-South Highway, which spans Caymanas, St Catherine and Mammee Bay, St Ann, will become another costly white elephant, a possession that its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. (Wikipedia)

Another recounted Jamaica's existing, yet not exhaustive, list of white elephants, of which the 62km toll highway will join the herd. Cited were the Montego Bay Conference Centre, the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, the 'Meats Laboratory' constructed in the middle of a dairy operation at Bodles Research Station in St Catherine, The Downtown Kingston Transport Centre, and the Chinese-built Sligoville stadium.

CLAUDE WILSON

jaclaudew@yahoo.com