Road Users Angry At Transfund Buying Rail Tracks
March 2, 2001
ROAD USERS ANGRY AT TRANSFUND BUYING RAIL TRACKS WITH THEIR MONEY
Transfund’s decision in principle to help fund the purchase of railway tracks in Auckland is a gross abuse of road user’s money, Road Transport Forum NZ (RTF) and the Automobile Association said in a joint statement today.
“If the Government wants to be involved in buying back railway tracks, it should get the money from the proceeds received from the sale of NZ Rail, and not expect road users, through Transfund, to pay for it,” RTF Chief Executive Tony Friedlander said.
Mr Friedlander said Transfund’s roading account was never set up to help buy back assets former Governments have sold.
“None of the proceeds from the rail sale were paid into the roading account so it is unacceptable to expect road users to foot the bill now,” he said.
AA Director of Public Affairs, George Fairbairn, said the decision was totally unacceptable at a time when road users were confronted with traffic jams and sub-standard roads as a result of New Zealand having the lowest expenditure on roading in the western world.
“Now, as well as reducing roading spending this year by $39 million, and taking $600 million of petrol tax for general Government spending, the Government is robbing the roading account to buy back assets,” said Mr Fairbairn.
“This decision will reduce roading expenditure by $ 22 million, causing the roading programme in Auckland to fall further behind and result in even worse traffic congestion,” said Mr Friedlander.
Both organisations recognised the importance of having an effective public transport system, but using roading funds to buy back railway assets was not an acceptable solution.
“A major public policy change such as this should have involved consultation with the public and key interest groups, and not resolved through a ‘behind the scenes’ approach,” said Mr Fairbairn.
Tony Friedlander George
RTF Chief Executive AA Director - Public Affairs
Ph: (025) 483-163 Ph: (04) 470-9984 (DDI)