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Don't fund roads at expense of public transport

Don't fund roads at expense of public transport urges Mayor Wood

February 23, 2006

North Shore City Mayor George Wood is praising the Government's commitment to shore up the funding gap for Transit's state highway construction programme, but says more roads are just a part of the long-term solution to Auckland's transport woes.

"It's reassuring that Transport Minister David Parker and Acting Finance Minister Trevor Mallard have quickly re-stated their Government's commitment to fund the full state highway construction programme, during this period of rising construction costs," Mr Wood says.

"While it's obvious we all need the missing parts of our motorway network completed, this shouldn't be at the expense of new passenger transport infrastructure," Mr Wood says.

"All the talk at the moment is about roads, roads and more roads, but key players need to think laterally to create some solutions.

"All levels of government must work together with urgency to see integrated ticketing for public transport introduced for the Auckland region. This is the one stumbling block preventing many daily commuters from leaving the car at home and instead hopping on a bus, ferry, or train.

"I also urge the Government to make an early decision about the future of Whenuapai airport as a second commercial commuter airport for the Auckland region.

"This would immediately solve the access nightmare for people in the northern part of the Auckland region, because at present more than 25 per cent of people using Mangere Airport travel from north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge."

Mr Wood says his council has faced its own funding problems with transport projects, including North Shore City's contribution to the Northern Busway project. But from a commuters' perspective, he's confident the resulting gains are worth the funding pain.

"I look forward to discussing these issues further when I meet with David Parker next week. Mr Parker and I opened the Albany and Constellation Park & Rides late last year as part of the Busway project, and patronage for that service has since gone through the roof.

"The statistics show that public transport is where our long-term focus needs to be."

ENDS

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