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Auckland’s Economy Needs “Balance” to Favour Roads

5 July 2005

Media Release

Auckland’s Economy Requires Transport “Balance” to Favour Roads!

“It’s the economy, stupid,” was Michael Barnett’s response to ARC transport chair Joel Cayford’s reported “worry” that the Government transport funders are still favouring roads at the cost of greater balance with public transport.

The Chamber of Commerce CEO gave three basic reasons why Auckland’s strategic roading network should receive the bulk of the Government’s transport money.

Firstly, the Government’s own transport strategy calls for investment in transport that helps the nation’s economy to grow. “Just completing the western motorway ring road alone will generate an additional $830 million a year in growth to the regional economy. For every dollar invested in the western corridor, New Zealand gets a return of $4.60.”

“I challenge Mr Cayford to indicate that level of economic return on any of the region’s public transport projects.”

Second, the region’s bus service runs on roads. “As last night’s bus service performance demonstrated, when the roads are not performing, bus services suffer.

“And that brings up the third obvious reason for funding favouring roads – Auckland’s roading network is incomplete, and has been for 30 years. “Until the region fixes its roads, bus services can’t operate efficiently.”

Mr Barnett reminded Mr Cayford that in most modern cities a “balanced” transport infrastructure involved an 80/20 investment between roads and public transport. “We are getting to that position here, but clearly our incomplete roading network and the inadequate bus and rail services show that we have some distance to go to lift our game in all areas – roading, bus and rail.”

ENDS

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