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Auckland City responds to Transit announcement

12 October 2006

Auckland City responds to Transit announcement

Auckland City welcomes debate on Transit New Zealand's tolling proposal to fund the early completion of the Western ring route.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Dr Bruce Hucker, says Auckland City supports Transit in completing this strategic alternative to State Highway 1, connecting Manukau and Albany via Auckland and Waitakere cities.

Transit announced today the start of consultation asking Aucklanders if they are willing to pay tolls to bring forward completion of the Western ring route, including the final link, State Highway 20's Waterview connection.

"I look forward to a robust debate by Aucklanders during Transit's consultation period. I encourage everyone to have their say on tolling this strategic route," says Dr Hucker.

Transit's proposed tolling option would mean completing State Highway 20's Waterview connection by 2015, around 15 years earlier than currently forecast through traditional forms of funding.

"Auckland City recognises that the 2015 completion date is not feasible through conventional funding methods," says Dr Hucker.

"It makes sense to consider alternative funding solutions to bring the project forward, with Aucklanders being given the opportunity to express their views.

"We are very interested in the outcomes of Transit's consultation as tolling is likely to be necessary in the future as a sustainable funding source for transport," he says.

"As this council continues advancing access improvements in the eastern suburbs, tolling may be required.

"Meanwhile, we will continue to work with Transit on this critical transport project on behalf of our residents, communities and ratepayers.

"Once completed the Western ring route will provide a much needed alternative to State Highway 1 for travel north and south.

"Alternatives to any tolled routes must be available, including increased public transport services. Plans to electrify Auckland's rail network and improve bus and ferry services must be sped up at the same time," says Dr Hucker.

Tolling for the Western ring route was initially raised by Transit in August 2005.

Transit's consultation on the tolling proposal closes Monday, 4 December 2006.

ENDS

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