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Waitakere City backs Government buy-back

Media Release

May 5, 2008

Waitakere City backs Government buy-back of rail/ferries - if it leads to better rail services sooner

Waitakere City Council welcomes the Government’s buy back of rail and ferry services from Toll Holdings, if it will result in quicker investment in modernising rail.

“Rail will be one of the keys to a sustainable future. Therefore, the Government’s decision just makes sense, if the alternative is a slower rate of investment in re-building a very sustainable form of transport,” says Waitakere Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse.

“We all know that efficient, well-equipped, rail is a very important part of a sustainable transportation mix that will deliver efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. That is why Waitakere City has been an outspoken advocate for the restoration of commuter rail and public transport in general, in Auckland

“It is why we have embarked in partnership with the Government and ARTA and the Auckland Regional Council, on the massive New Lynn trenching project. This will enable frequent commuter trains pass through New Lynn below street level, without coming into conflict with road traffic. The aim is to maximise rail efficiency, to the point where it is the commuter option of choice, leaving roads predominantly for commercial traffic” she says.

“Rebuilding the public transport system reduces dependency on the private car, which costs the region $1 billion a year in congestion-related lost productivity,” she says.

“But congestion is only part of it. There are massive greenhouse emissions from tens of thousands of private cars crawling many kilometres every morning and evening.

‘And the revival of public transport is working. New services are met by more willing customers. It is very much a case of build it and they will come,” she says.

Councillor Hulse says the Government’s re-investment in national rail and ferry systems should have similar benefits, especially if the private and public sectors work together as the government has signalled will happen.

“Investing heavily in the national rail system to build it back up as quickly as possible, is a strategic objective and the Government is to be congratulated for taking decisive action. I think it is also to be congratulated for its wish to continue working with Toll. Private and public enterprise have much to teach each other and if they pool their knowledge, we can have an excellent outcome,” says Councillor Hulse.

ENDS

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