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Transport funding “Pussyfoots” with Auckland

Transport funding “Pussyfoots” with Auckland

“… There has to be a better way to solve Auckland’s transport crisis!!”

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Auckland Business Forum, said: “Like many Aucklanders last night, I was stuck in gridlock caused by a minor accident on a half built motorway network listening to radio about how Transfund and Transit are pouring money into fixing Auckland’s traffic problems.”

At best the claim that the $356 million provided for the next 12 months to help fix our transport problems is half-true.

What the region needs is not $356 million but $1 billion if it is to be able to action the network completion projects sitting in a growing queue waiting to be built.

Projects “ready to go” or “almost ready to go” NOT in the funding package announced yesterday include: HOBSON DEVIATION (SH16) $ 89 M MANUKAU EXTN SH20 – SH1 $152 M WAIOURU TO SH1 $74 M ALPURT B2 $165 M PENLINK $80 M

$560 M

Projects partly covered by yesterday’s funding include: MT ROSKILL EXTENSION SH20 $154 M NS BUSWAY & ESMONDE INTERCHANGE $156 M NEWMARKET VIADUCT $40 M

$350M

This is a far from complete list of projects needed for network completion. It doesn’t include the Avondale link on the western bypass and it doesn’t include the eastern transport corridor.


Also there is nothing provided for the public transport projects the region desperately needs:

DOUBLE TRACKING OF WESTERN LINE AND ELECTRIFICATION OF THE HEAVY RAIL NETWORK; EXTENSION OF RAIL LINE INTO MANUKAU CITY CENTRE (to complement the line extension to Britomart soon to open); UPGRADE OF SUBURBAN STATIONS, SECURITY AND CAR PARKING….

Said Michael Barnett: “We delude ourselves if we believe that the funding package unveiled yesterday will solve Auckland’s transport crisis – it won’t.”

What is clear is that Transit New Zealand is speeding up the network completion work programme, and the case for a “catch up” funding package is therefore accelerating.

There are just two viable options, said Mr Barnett. Either Government stops siphoning petrol tax money into the consolidated fund and returns it to Auckland for transport capital projects, or it changes the rules to allow Transfund and/or the region to debt fund the money it needs to complete the job.

“While Auckland continues to be drip-fed insufficient money to do a proper job on fixing its transport infrastructure, there is nothing more certain than that the region will stay struggling with the challenge of running a first-world economy on third-world infrastructure and attitudes.”

“The neglect of Auckland’s transport infrastructure is now catching up with all of us - economic, social and political risks are too unpredictable to be left un-actioned for another year. We need a funding package for Auckland, and we need it now – in the next few months,” said Mr Barnett.

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