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New Direction In Planning Of Eastern Corridor

14 May 2004

New Direction In Planning Of Eastern Corridor

The latest stage of planning for the Eastern Transport Corridor will involve detailed plans for public transport along the route.

The ETC Steering Group has released its preferred route recommendations which will now go before the project partners Transit, Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council for final approval. At this stage they are just recommendations and not policy.

The recommendations include changes to earlier plans to reduce the overall cost of the project to 2.5 billion dollars. The Parnell Tunnel option has been dropped in favour of a four lane road beside the rail line across Hobson Bay. The plan no longer includes a bus lane between Auckland CBD and Panmure. Instead, passengers will use trains along this portion of the route.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says there has been a lot of public feedback on the earlier proposals and that has been incorporated into the latest recommendations. However further suggested changes are still under consideration, including building the Allen's Road extension (between Mt Wellington and East Tamaki) sooner than anticipated.

He says public transport is extremely important. "The ARC is responsible for public transport in the region and so we will be working closely with them to ensure top quality bus and train options are part of the package.

"At peak times I would like to see trains leaving very frequently - say every five to ten minutes, to connect with local buses. However the practicalities of that have yet to be worked out."

"Tolling must be part of the roading section of the Corridor but in the bigger picture I would like to see cordon tolls applied in a ring to include all the motorways and major roads in the area. They have worked very well overseas and I believe cordon tolls must be introduced here. We really have no other option.

"The tolls serve three purposes: they raise money for future roading and other transport improvements, reduce congestion, and help get people onto public transport."

ENDS

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