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RLTC adopts high passenger transport option

24 March 2005

RLTC adopts high passenger transport option for draft strategy

At its Tuesday 22nd March meeting, the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee (RLTC) adopted a ‘High Passenger Transport’ option for inclusion in the draft of the region’s new Regional Land Transport Strategy. The draft strategy will be put out for public consultation later this year.

The ‘High Passenger Transport’ option was supported by the majority of the committee members after a robust debate. The option was supported by 13 of the 21 members in attendance – six voted against and two abstained in the recorded vote.

“This was always going to be a difficult decision, and the various transport advocates around the table strongly defended their positions,” says Regional Land Transport Committee Chair, Councillor Joel Cayford.

“I now look forward to hearing the views of the people of the region during the upcoming public consultation on the draft strategy,” he says.

Legislation passed last year requires a review of the Auckland region’s Land Transport Strategy, including a new 10-year plan, to be completed by the end of 2005. New transport legislation also specifically requires consideration of the objectives of economic development, access and mobility, safety and security, public health and environmental sustainability.

”This RLTS is being prepared in a new regime. It is not business as usual. Delivering on all of these objectives requires a balanced mix of roading, passenger transport and travel demand management investment."

The RLTC is made up of members from the ARC and the region’s seven local councils, members who represent the new objectives (including roading advocates), and Land Transport New Zealand. Transit NZ and ARTA, the newly established Auckland Regional Transport Authority, also took part in the debate.
The committee has been considering various options for the expenditure of the total amount of funding available in that period which is around $10.7 billion. Options considered included various mixes of roading, passenger transport and travel demand management expenditure.

Following recent changes to legislation, the RLTS is not able to require the completion of specific projects, but it is required to set the strategic direction for expenditure.

The committee has considered indicative lists of projects which could be carried out within its proposed spending allocations, but responsibility for deciding which projects proceed rests with ARTA (for specific passenger transport projects), and Transit NZ (for all State Highway projects).

The option adopted by the RLTC for the purpose of consultation includes an allocation of $400million to travel demand management, $3,500million to passenger transport, $3,700million to roading (including $500million to road safety and $200million to traffic management) and $2,700million to road maintenance.

Much of the debate in the meeting centred around the Western Ring Road.

“Based on Transit advice that the Avondale section of SH20 could not be done in 10 years, with the best will in the world, it was not sensible to include it in the 10-year plan. However, the RLTC does support getting on with those sections of SH20 which can be constructed within 10 years, in particular SH20 Mt Roskill, Manukau Harbour Crossing and SH20 connection to SH1 at Manukau City Centre, and the draft RLTS will provide sufficient funds to do so. Again, these are indicative and the final decision rests with Transit,” says Councillor Cayford.

At the same meeting, the RLTC also agreed its submission on Transit’s draft 10-year Programme. The committee supported the elevation in priority given to major Auckland roading projects and specifically supported all of the Western Ring Road projects, including SH20 Avondale to the extent that it is practicable.

Officers will now incorporate the adopted option into the draft strategy for further consideration by the RLTC next month, prior to full public consultation.

“The region’s public transport networks have suffered from chronic under funding for decades. The region’s city councils recognise this and are getting on with major works locally. The RLTS needs to support their initiatives, and more funding must be directed at this crucial part of the region’s transport,” says Councillor Cayford.

ENDS

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