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Transport legislation largely positive


30 March 2004

Transport legislation largely positive

The bill introduced into Parliament today to pave the way for the Government’s December transport package is a positive step forward with a number of concessions made for Auckland City,” Mayor Hon John Banks said today.

“Given the huge amount of money being moved around, we now need to get our heads clearly around the detail of the bill. We are committed to putting a submission to the select committee and arguing any reservations in the strongest possible way.

“I am concerned, for example, where 15 per cent of Infrastructure Auckland’s billion dollar herd of ‘cash cows’ is going. We know 85 per cent is going into transport and stormwater projects but what is the Auckland Regional Council going to waste the remainder on? Hopefully not everyday operating costs.”

Mr Banks said there are some positives in the new governance structure and the development of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA).

“I think an independent chair for the period of transition is good. I am also pleased that at least 10 people out of the 15 on the ARTA appointments’ panel will have to agree to each board member. This will help ensure regional confidence in appointments to the board of ARTA.

“The public however is not much interested in process. It wants to see bulldozers in action and motorways completed.”

Mr Banks said a recent Transit New Zealand briefing paper to the new Minister, Hon Pete Hodgson, points to six major Auckland transport projects that are ready to go now: SH18, Hobsonville; SH1, ALPURT; SH1, North Shore Busway; SH1, Esmonde Road Interchange; SH1, Waiouru Connection; SH20, Manukau Extension; and SH20, Mt Roskill Extension.

“These projects are a regional priority and are ready to build. The public expects us to just get on with it.

“Auckland City, and the region’s other seven territorial local authorities, are committed to motorway network completion with integrated public transport over the next decade.

“The first reading of the Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill in the House today brings us a step closer,” said Mr Banks.

Ends

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