Push On To Build Eastern Corridor
25 June 2002
Push On To Build Eastern Corridor Business Tell Councils
Auckland businesses overwhelmingly want Auckland and Manukau Cities to complete the Eastern Corridor in a way that includes integration of a highway with public transport options.
Strong support is also revealed for building the highway as a toll road.
However, businesses are evenly divided on whether Auckland City should continue to consider a tunnel option under Parnell, despite the additional $400 million cost compared to crossing Hobson Bay alongside the existing railway.
Based on an internet survey conducted between Monday and Wednesday this week, 90% of the 558 respondents agreed that Auckland and Manukau Cities should push on to build the Eastern Corridor as part of network completion.
Eighty-six percent (86%) supported completion of the corridor in a way that integrated a highway with either upgrading the existing rail or a dedicated busway.
The findings are consistent with a previous Chamber survey on the Eastern Transport Corridor conducted in September 2002, when 90% of respondents supported the two Cities building the corridor by 2007. In this survey, 87% of respondents called for a motorway that also integrated public transport options.
In both surveys, rail-only has been roundly rejected, with just 6% of respondents in both 2002 and this week’s survey supporting upgrading the existing rail only and not building a road.
Main findings of this week’s survey are:
• 90% agree that Auckland & Manukau Cities should push on to build the Eastern Corridor as part of network completion; 10% disagreed.
Of the 90%
who responded “yes” to building the Eastern
• 41% supported a highway of up to four lanes with dedicated busways and upgraded rail;
• 21% supported a highway only of up to four lanes;
• 20% supported a highway of up to four lanes with upgraded rail;
• 8% supported a highway of up to four lanes with dedicated busways;and,
• 6% supported upgrading the existing rail only.
Other findings included:
• 64% support for the Eastern Corridor being build as a toll road, with 35% against the idea. In 2002, support for a toll road was 62%, with 36% opposed.
• 45% of respondents agreed that a tunnel option under Parnell should be considered despite the increased cost compared to crossing Hobson Bay, with 54% opposed. In 2002, 66% favoured the tunnel option, with 33% opposed.
As in 2002, respondents were asked whether they supported introduction of tolls on other routes to help speed up network completion. The findings were:
• Western Bypass (SH20) at Avondale
Yes 55% 17%
• Alpurt SH1 north or Orewa
Yes 64% 15%
• SH1 south of Bombay Hills
Yes 43% 7%
• Harbour Bridge
Yes 45% 27%
Commenting, Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, described the findings as a strong mandate for Auckland and Manukau Cities to get on with building the Eastern corridor with urgency and speed.
“Auckland businesses are very clearly saying they want the corridor network completed, and they want the job done in a way that motorways are integrated to include a public transport option.”
“We have had enough studies and plans. More of these will only increase the doubts and scepticism that the project really will go ahead. What’s needed from the two Councils is a firm decision that unveils a publicly endorsed, financially supported project that the private sector can get in behind and help fund and build,” said Mr Barnett.
Very clearly the increased support for tolled highways in the latest survey compared to 2002 suggests a maturing of views and support for user pay options to fund transport infrastructure.
The fact that business support for a tolled Alpurt motorway north of Orewa has jumped from 15% to 64% reinforces the growing appetite Aucklanders have for getting the job done using new funding options.