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Traffic Gridlock

2 March 2004

Media Release

Today’s traffic gridlock reinforces that time is running out for Transit New Zealand to respond to the call of business to appoint a professional, experienced “crisis management team” to complete the region’s triple by-pass.

“Yet again Auckland business has been hit by costly traffic gridlock caused by an incomplete transport network,” said Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

“How many messages do we have to send to Transit New Zealand and Government that they need to get their act together and finish off the long-planned network with urgency and speed.”

For 30 years Auckland has had a top-class transport network sitting on plans. “It is a disgrace that we still haven’t got action underway to get the network off paper and onto the ground.”

If the western bypass had been built by now, traffic would have options when events like today’s occur on the Harbour Bridge.

Transit should appoint 10 professional project managers and bang the table in Wellington to get the funding and resources they need to get all the unfinished projects underway in parallel, said Mr Barnett.

Time-and-again, the business community has been told that the network could be completed within five years – it’s time Transit New Zealand’s board proved they are up to the job.

Clearly today’s incident, following on others in recent years, reinforces the common sense call that a third harbour crossing be built to serve the eastern suburbs directly.

“Gridlock is costing business a billion dollars a year – and today’s events will add many millions to this year’s costs. It is unacceptable when we know the solution, but can’t get ourselves organised to deliver,” said an angry Michael Barnett.

ENDS

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