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Airport Rail Petition Nears 4,000 Signatures

Airport Rail Petition Nears 4,000 Signatures

A petition to safeguard an electric rail corridor to Auckland Airport has gained almost 4,000 signatures in the fortnight since it was launched.

The Campaign For Better Transport started the petition out of concern that Transit New Zealand’s Second Manukau Harbour Crossing project will leave no room for a future rail link through Mangere to the airport.

Spokesperson Cameron Pitches describes the response as "phenomenal".

"We’ve run petitions before in support of rail to Onehunga and electrification of the rail network, but we’ve never seen a response quite like this. We often have a queue of people waiting to sign. Most people can’t understand why we have to resort to a petition for something that seems so obvious."

"With petrol and diesel prices at record highs, urgent priority needs to be given to boosting our public transport, not expanding motorways."

Transit New Zealand’s Second Manukau Harbour Crossing Project will create a duplicate of the current four lane Manukau Harbour Bridge and expand the number of motorway lanes either side of the crossing. Transit have agreed to provide for a future rail crossing in the bridge design, but, according to Mr Pitches, "there is no clear corridor on the Mangere side which will provide for two track electric rail to serve the thousands of workers and travellers that travel to the airport every day."

Over a thousand of the signatures have been obtained through the campaign’s bettertransport.org.nz website.

The petition also has the support of ARC Chair Mike Lee, Manukau Mayor Len Brown, a number of councillors from the ARC, Auckland City and Manukau City and local community and ratepayer groups.

"Extending rail services to the Auckland International Airport needs to be given the highest priority. I can think of no greater development after the electrification of rail which will transform Auckland into a truly international city," said Mr Lee, in support of the campaign.

Enabling works for the Second Manukau Harbour Crossing Project are due to commence in March, despite the design of a key motorway interchange at Onehunga being unresolved.

The Campaign for Better Transport’s appeal to the Environment Court over the issue continues, with a mediation session set down for next week.

ENDS

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