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Mayor loses the plot with his latest light rail push

Mayor loses the plot with his latest light rail push, say councillors

Three Auckland councillors say it’s a complete surprise that the Auckland Mayor is now actively pushing another costly rail project without any discussion with councillors nor is a Manukau light rail loop in any Auckland Transport or Auckland Council budget or plan.

Howick councillors Dick Quax and Sharon Stewart and Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer believe the Mayor needs to stop promising so much, and focus on delivering existing projects.

Their comments follow Len Brown’s surprise comments in a local paper last week, where he said: “We want to run light rail from Manukau up through Clover Park, all along Te Irirangi Drive, up to Highland Park, up Panmure Highway and back to Manukau.”

Dick Quax says: “This smacks of the Mayor’s 2006 promise to deliver light rail from Bucklands Beach to Mangere Bridge. He just can’t be taken seriously with these kinds of ridiculous promises which never come with any costings, backing or evidence. However, the alarming thing here is supposedly some kind of investigation is already underway - no doubt involving a raft a consultants. It needs to be stopped now, before the big bills start coming in.”

Cameron Brewer says: “I seriously think the Mayor has lost the plot. He keeps dreaming up all these projects with no idea of where the money is going to come from. He’s flaying all over the place. Delivering a funding plan for his City Rail Link is where his focus should be, not dreaming up local light rail projects with the sole hope of winning back some support in the south.”

Sharon Stewart has serious concerns about the costs and potential impact on ratepayers.

“Rates keep going up and council debt is soaring. The council is under enormous pressure to cut costs, yet the Mayor is racing around promising to spend even more. Let’s not forget that communities are already complaining that many of our town centres, parks and streets are untidy. I think we need to focus on delivering on council’s core business first and foremost before adding to the wish list,” says Ms Stewart.

Mr Brewer believes the Mayor’s obsession with rail is out of control.

“To think that almost all of Auckland Transport’s capital expenditure for public transport is going towards rail in 2014/15 when just one percent of Aucklanders take the train says it all. At the same time a paltry $1.4m is being allocated to new buslanes across the region when buses take 80% of our public transport users. The Mayor’s latest pet project proves he’s completely lost perspective.”

Ends


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