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Dire situation if planners ignore oil prices

January 4, 2008

Dire situation if transport planners continue to ignore rising oil prices

Oil has broken through the symbolic price barrier of US$100/barrel, prompting Forum for Auckland Sustainable Transport to urge councils and transport agencies to put far greater emphasis on providing better public transport and safer conditions for walking and cycling.

Spokesperson Bevan Woodward says “The transport planners don’t seem to have realised that oil prices are on an unstoppable climb. Our analysis of industry reports reveals that the price of oil will only trend up, as supply is unable to keep up with the rising demand for oil.”

Forum for Auckland Sustainable Transport believes that unless we make significant improvements to public transport, walking and cycling, Aucklanders will be forced to continue relying on their cars and be at the mercy of ever more expensive fuel prices. Such a situation will have major impact. It will lead the economy into recession as people are forced to cut back in other areas of spending in order to keep driving.

There is also the issue of social deprivation, as many Aucklanders living in outer suburbs do not have access to good public transport and will struggle to afford more expensive fuel. These people will have difficulty in accessing their places of work, shopping, recreation, their families and friends.

Auckland needs to be working on the expansion of the rail network and improving its integration with buses, ferries, cycling and walking in order to protect its residents from the effects of rising oil prices.

Bevan Woodward says “We must take the focus off Auckland’s massive road building program and invest that money in high quality public transport which is fast, reliable and sustainable. If we don’t take urgent action to improve public transport, walking and cycling then Aucklanders risk suffering economical recession and social deprivation.


Background notes

Forum for Auckland Sustainable Transport (FAST) is an umbrella group of organisations and individuals who support sustainable transport solutions to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges of transporting people and goods in the Auckland region.

FAST is concerned that Auckland’s transport planners are ignoring the rising oil prices and continue to focus on building more roads. Examples include:
- Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council pushing the $1.5 billion AMETI motorway when a light rail loop from Panmure to Manuaku would cost half that amount
- Transit’s massive road building program of ALPURT, Victoria Park tunnel, Newmarket Viaduct, State Highways 16, 18 and 20, Western Ring Route.
- The lack of progress on the rail connection to the airport, the CBD rail loop or the eastern rail loop from Panmure to Manakua via Botany Downs
- ARTA’s transport plan for 2008/09 budget’s $184 million for road improvement projects and only $32 million for passenger transport capital projects.

FAST has prepared a 7 point action plan for a balanced transport system for Auckland. See attached for a copy.

FAST spokesperson Bevan Woodward is a retired accountant, chair of Cycle Action Auckland, and a member of the ARC’s Regional Land Transport Committee.

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