Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Auckland welcomes funding for electric trains

Auckland welcomes funding for electric trains

3 July 2008

Parliament’s passing of the Land Transport Management Amendment Bill this evening takes the Auckland region a step closer to electric trains and other public transport improvements.

On behalf of the Auckland Regional Council, chairman Michael Lee thanks the supportive Members of Parliament for their vision and courage at a time when world oil prices were rising. They have weighed up many difficult issues and chosen to take a long-term view of transport funding, the threats of peak oil and climate change, and the need to provide affordable transport for all.

“Thank-you to the Labour Party, New Zealand First, the Greens, the Maori Party, United Future, the Progressive Party, and to Phillip Taito Field, for a final tally of 70 votes in support,” Mr Lee says.

“It’s almost two years since the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) said there was urgent need to make a decision about future rolling stock.

“Rail passenger numbers have grown from 2.5 million per annum five years ago to almost 7 million this year. Electrifying commuter rail makes sense. Fast, clean quiet electric trains are cheaper to run in the long-term,” Mr Lee says.

Rail patronage in Perth, Australia was at a similar level, about 7 million, when they decided to electrify their system in 1997. Patronage has since reached 30 million trips per year

The law passed today allows regional councils around the country to raise money to fast-track transport capital projects by phasing in regional fuel taxes. Mr Lee said regional councils would welcome the potential for additional transport funding, but the public would want the assurance that every dollar was well-spent.

“The extra funding creates a greater obligation for spending transparency,” he says.

The Public Transport Management Bill, which was still before a parliamentary select committee, would help councils provide more transparency. The Bill needed to be strengthened to increase accountability for the huge amount of public subsidies going to private companies.

ARTA will provide public subsidies of $158.7 million this financial year, with $79.4 million of that coming from the ARC. Bus subsidies in Auckland are worth $106.7 million this financial year.

“The present public transport procurement arrangements – a legacy from the 1980s – are totally unsatisfactory in terms of transparency and accountability,” Mr Lee says.

Auckland’s plans to dramatically improve public transport are well-advanced, but the ARC cannot formally consider a regional fuel tax scheme until the Land Transport Management Amendment takes effect on 1 August.

The ARC, together with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, has proposed buying electric trains, strengthening the region’s bus and ferry network, and introducing smart-card ticketing.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election