Network completion at risk if we don’t get tools
Moving Auckland Forward
Hon John Banks QSO
Mayor of Auckland City
27 January 2004
Network completion at risk if we don’t get the tools and structures right
“The goal of completing our transport network with urgency will be at serious risk if we allow long drawn out processes and bureaucratic red tape to stifle the want of the region. I support the CEOs’ work to move the whole package forward,” Auckland City Mayor, Hon John Banks, said today.
Mr Banks’ comments come as the region’s local government chief executives release their report to Auckland’s eight territorial local authorities evaluating the Government’s transport funding package, announced on 12 December.
“The Automobile Association tells us that the overwhelming majority of Auckland drivers just want us to get on with it and are increasingly willing to pay. With this in mind, it makes no sense to stall the extra 5c per litre in fuel tax until April 2005.”
“A 40 per cent funding gap remains but this can be bridged by introducing new mechanisms such as road pricing. Drivers won’t mind paying tolls on new and existing roads around the isthmus if they know the end of costly gridlock traffic is imminent.
Mr Banks said bringing the funding forward would also send a clear message to the construction industry to gear up for the work ahead.
“As well as urgent action, the greater Auckland public wants to see real tangible results. I understand the need to update the regional land transport strategy and the respective district plans, but let’s not wait for the long completion of this giant paper stack before we even begin to build the much needed infrastructure. It is imperative we get on and plan and build concurrently.
“The Auckland City Council unanimously wanted ARTA (the new Auckland Regional Transport Authority) set up as a stand-alone transport entity outside the Auckland Regional Council. We lost that battle but having said that we now want ARTA to win the war.
“For too long we have seen too many cooks in the kitchen spoiling the broth. If ARTA is to be fully effective we want the Auckland functions of Transfund, Transit and Trackco to be brought within it.
“There is a billion dollars worth of projects around the region ready to go. We need to better collaborate with the Government’s three key agencies if we want long-awaited projects to get off the ground and real progress to be made.
“Supported by the people, the region’s eight local authorities are committed to motorway network completion with integrated public transport over the next decade. This coming year we will work closely with the Government to ensure we get the right tools and structures to do the job right and with urgency,” said Mr Banks.
Auckland City Council will meet this Thursday to decide its official response to the Government’s 12 December package.