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Transit to Work With ARTA On Airport Rail

Media Release From the Campaign for Better Transport
10 December 2007: For Immediate Release

Transit to Work With ARTA On Airport Rail

Transit New Zealand is to work closely with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and other agencies to facilitate a rail link to Auckland Airport from Onehunga.

Transport lobby group The Campaign for Better Transport has obtained the confirmation in a letter from the Board of Transit, as an outcome of its Environment Court mediation over the Second Manukau Harbour Crossing motorway expansion project.

Spokesperson Cameron Pitches welcomed the move towards more integrated transport planning in Auckland.

"The North Shore Busway is an excellent example of how all the agencies can work together, and we look forward to the same collaborative approach for rail to the airport via Mangere," said Mr Pitches.

The exact alignment of a double track rail corridor from Onehunga to Auckland Airport will not be known until an ARTA commissioned report is produced in February of next year. The report will ascertain to what extent rail can be integrated within the motorway corridor.

In the meantime, Government agency Transit are due to start construction within the motorway corridor the following month, which Mr Pitches describes as "unnecessarily hasty, especially when petrol prices are increasing."

"We question why the Board and senior management of Transit are being pushed by central Government to complete the project by 2011. There are many unresolved design issues and rushing to start the project could exclude rail or make it very expensive to implement in the future."

Transit are also yet to confirm what the long term design for a key motorway interchange at Onehunga will be. The interchange, once described as a central component of the Second Manukau Harbour Crossing project, was dropped by Transit in August of this year. Traffic modelling confirms that relying on the current on and off ramps while expanding the Manukau Harbour bridge to eight lanes will increase traffic congestion at Onehunga.

"You wouldn’t start construction on a house without knowing what the final design looks like, so why doesn’t the same principle apply to motorway construction?" asks Mr Pitches.

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Better Transport is continuing with its airport rail petition, which currently has more than 4,000 signatures.

"We've had a great response so far, but we need even more to clearly demonstrate to decision makers the support there is for rail to Auckland Airport," concludes Mr Pitches.

Notes:

1. The Get Airport Rail petition can be signed online at www.bettertransport.org.nz

2. A new railway station is scheduled to open at Onehunga in December, 2009. There are currently no plans by Transit to integrate this with the Second Manukau Harbour Crossing Project.

3. Transit New Zealand have categorically stated that "the need for the SH20 upgrade is not determined by the 2011 Rugby World Cup", contained in supporting documents of their Notice of Requirement and Resource Consent applications.

4. A copy of Transit's letter is available from the online version of this press release at www.bettertransport.org.nz

Cameron Pitches
Convenor
Campaign for Better Transport Inc
www.bettertransport.org.nz


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