Cost quiz answers

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Hopefully, you have tried answering the quiz before coming here for the answers.

  1. How much was borrowed, and how much has to be repaid?: $165.4 million was borrowed. The amount being repaid, including interest, over 35 years, is the current equivalent of $297 million (which does not include the cost overruns).
  2. What are the annual payments?: $8 million for the first year (about $4 million semi-annually, starting December 2011). That's coming out of the main GNWT budget.
  3. Cost overruns: $26 million so far - $16 million when the GNWT took over, another $10 million announced December 2011. This makes the 35 year total construction financing around $320 million.
  4. Lost tolls and extra ferry costs - around $7 million, at least. No one has mentioned this anywhere I can see.
  5. Annual savings - $2.7 million - what the government pays annually for the ferry and icebridge.
  6. Toll revenues - Around $4 million - the tolls depend significantly on the winter freight traffic to the mines north of Yellowknife, which can vary substantially from year to year. Over the last four years, the tolls would probably have ranged from $3.2-4.2 million, mostly toward the higher end, so the $4 million figure is probably pretty good for the first few years. Going forward, new mines could increase traffic and tolls, but old mines will be closing during the 35 year repayment period.
  7. Net annual cost - Around $2 million - effectively the extra cost of having a bridge instead of the ferry. This is the annual repayments, minus the toll revenue and the ferry savings. There are also additional annual operating and toll collection costs, and an annual grant to Fort Providence. (Of course, this doesn't take into account the economic impact of the tolls charged to commercial trucking). In bad toll years the GNWT's costs will increase (the terrible 2009 year would have cost around $2.7 million), while if new mines open there might be hundreds of thousands of extra dollars in toll revenue to make things better.

So while $192 million for construction is accurate as far as it goes, it is just as accurate to call it $320 million in financing, over the 35 years. When I get a chance, I'll provide some more links within this wiki for details on the numbers. For now, you can check out the Bridge Calculator, and my musings on Bridge Costs. Any questions or comments, my contact info is here.