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Transport - The 546 million dollar question

The 546 million dollar question - What level of transport spending do you want

April 13, 2006

North Shore City residents have a fortnight left to select which of the three transport investment options they want to see implemented in the decade ahead.

As part of the consultation programme for the Draft City Plan 2006-2016, community comment is sought on three transport options for new and ongoing transport-related capital works, which vary in cost from $315m to $546m over 10 years.

Option 1 ($315m) essentially maintains the same level of funding as in the current City Plan, Option 2 ($469m) allows for a mid-range level of transport improvements - including an extension of bus priority measures, and Option 3 ($546m) funds a full range of transport improvements to meet community expectations.

North Shore City mayor George Wood says whichever option is selected will have significant consequences for a long time.

"If we continue to hold our current level of transport spending, existing problems with capacity and congestion will be amplified in future years.

"It will be a significant cost to provide our residents with the level of transport infrastructure they've already told us they want. We're now looking for feedback about what level of additional expense the community is prepared to stomach to meet their wishes," says Mr Wood.

The three options are summarised as follows:

Option & 10 Year Cost
Option 1 - Status Quo: $315m (current level of council expenditure on transport)
· Only $62m of this would be available for new transport projects - the rest would fund completion of existing projects.
· Significant investment in public transport improvement (together with Transit and ARTA funding)
· Insufficient funding to deal with many existing transport shortcomings, leading to:
- increased congestion
- reduced safety for road users
- no significant improvement to walking & cycling infrastructure
- greater energy use and more environmental damage
- negative implications for economic development.
Option 2 - Mid Range: $469m

Impact on annual rates: 0.6%
Includes positive features outlined in Option 1, plus:
· Public transport improvements to key employment locations and more bus priority measures
· Additional funding for parking buildings
· Substantially increased funding for safety improvements
· Local improvements to road and footpath surfaces
· Further road corridor upgrading.

Transport outcomes would be better than Option 1, but still short of public expectation.

Traffic congestion would be worse than at present, with negative impact to economic development, traffic safety, environmental outcomes and energy use.
Option 3 - Full Option: $546m

Impact on annual rates: 0.8%
· Best option to achieve the type of city the community has told council they want.
· Would substantially achieve expected service levels for roads, footpaths and cycleways.
· Much improved public transport system
· Better environmental outcomes, less energy use, improved safety and support for the city's economic development.
Specifically, the additional investment would include:
- improved transport capacity in Takapuna
- better southern access to the Wairau industrial area and internal road network
- improved capacity along the Albany Highway / Glenfield Rd / Birkenhead Ave corridor
- Highbury & Northcote Centre transport improvements
- Onewa Rd upgrade to improve access, capacity, urban design and efficiency
- Land purchases to safeguard future options
- Construction of ferry wharves at Takapuna and Browns Bay.

Everyone who lives in North Shore City or who owns a property here has an opportunity to make a submission as part of the City Plan process. A summary newsletter has been distributed to residents and is also available from council offices and libraries. Submissions close on April 26.

The full versions of the draft City Plan and Transport Strategy are also on the council's website www.northshorecity.govt.nz and submissions can be made online.


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