Motorway: No Mandate, No Budget, No Answers
PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM CHRIS FLETCHER, MAYORAL CANDIDATE FOR AUCKLAND CITY
MOTORWAY: NO MANDATE, NO BUDGET, NO ANSWERS
The latest Eastern Motorway proposal will achieve zilch in dealing with Auckland's gridlock problem, according to Auckland Mayoral Candidate Chris Fletcher.
She said that the focus for the city's transport woes must be to reduce traffic, not to construct systems that will encourage more cars to jam up the city.
"A motorway is a motorway - two lanes, four or six." she said. "This supposedly scaled-down proposal is like trying to say that someone is a 'little bit pregnant'."
"I don't know how many times I have to ask this," she said, "but where on earth will the cars go once they get to the end of the motorway? Surely this is the real issue?"
"And how much more money will be squandered on consultants' reports?" she said. "There is no mandate for this road, no budget for it, and no indication as to where the money is going to come from."
Chris Fletcher said that it would take years to get through all the necessary Consents for a motorway, and that costs would escalate as a result. "By contrast, the rail corridor is already in place, operating way under capacity," she said. "Surely we should make the best use of our existing investment before we even think about spending billions of dollars on a new investment?"
"This City needs a public transport system that is worthy of a "world-class" city, not even a scaled-down road through one of Auckland's iconic beauty-spots, the Orakei Basin, and Purewa Cemetery,"
"My vision for Auckland includes electrification of the Auckland rail network, and brand new electric trains, including light rail vehicles that will connect beyond Britomart with the universities, Auckland City Hospital, Newmarket and the Western Line," she said. "Together with the investment that is now going into stations and double tracking, and an increase in train frequency, we have the makings of a top-rate system."
She said that in the longer-term the city should also plan for a connection between Avondale and Southdown via Onehunga and a branch to the Airport. "The real benefits of our rail system will come when we provide a city-wide network allowing access to more major destinations," she said.
"Add to this an expansion of our ferry services so that they become a viable alternative for many more Auckland commuters and shoppers, and the benefits of integrated ticketing systems, and we will see many more people use public transport as a positive choice."
The public will certainly not appreciate having to pay a toll to use the motorway, she said. "Effectively, they will be paying off a Muldoon-style Think Big' project."
"Even if a scaled-down motorway was eventually built, it would not be long before the pressure came on to expand it further. We'll end up getting the motorway by stealth, against the direct wishes of the public of Auckland."
"Of the serious contenders for the Auckland Mayoralty, I am the only one who is unequivocally against the motorway. If you want to be rid of this proposal, you have to vote for me."