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Urgent Start Sought On Eastern Transport Corridor

Media statement
Monday, June 28, 2004

Urgent start sought on Eastern Transport Corridor

An urgent start on the Eastern Transport Corridor was called for by the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) at the Auckland City Council's Public Transport Forum on the project.

"Auckland's business and commuters to work need to see an immediate start on the eastern corridor," Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive told the forum this morning.

"But we don't need a gold plated development.

"We suspect a highly satisfactory transport corridor can be built for perhaps $1.2 billion by making use of land and other assets already owned by Auckland City.

"We strongly recommend that the size of the project is reduced so it can be built to meet the scale of Aucklanders' expectations and to make it affordable.

"The overwhelming majority of our 7500 members support the early development of the Eastern Transport Corridor project. The most intense support comes from our 5000 member businesses and their employees within the Auckland region.

"Our surveys on transport in general and on traffic congestion make that very clear.

"We need to see expressions of interest in the project being called from the private sector this week if possible, with construction commencing this year. We cannot afford further delays.

"Auckland city will realise a sound rate of return from the investment which will come in terms of more jobs, and higher paying jobs.

The BERL report on the corridor's economic benefits estimates these to be $1.5 billion over 20 years.

"We think the figure conservative as BERL's calculations did not include efficiency gains to be won, for example as residents in Parnell, Remuera and further south make use of the corridor, rather than sitting in long queues in suburban streets waiting for access to main roads.

"Mainly the transport corridor will deliver efficiency gains from faster access to the south eastern industrial areas in the Panmure, Mt Wellington and Tamaki areas and impact positively and progressively on the growth of better job opportunities leading to an increase in our standards of living.

"Higher standards of living from the project will be measured in terms of better education opportunities, better health services, and care for the environment that is funded as more people in employment are able to earn more in better paid jobs and thereby pay more in taxes.

"GDP growth was 3.6% for the year ended March, considerably more than the forecasters were expecting, and though immigration has slowed lately to 14,000 inbound people for the year, and the economy overall may yet start to slow, the population of the Auckland region will continue to rise, and faster than most other cities in New Zealand."


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