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Huge Scale Of Auckland’s Infrastructure Shortfall

Grafton Gully’s Wellesley Street Bridge Opening Brings Home The Huge Scale Of Auckland’s Transport Infrastructure Shortfall

At last! Today’s opening by Transport Minister Paul Swain of the Wellesley Street Bridge over the motorway extension down Grafton Gully is concrete proof of progress to reduce gridlock in central Auckland.

While the bridge by itself represents a very small step forward, business will welcome today’s ceremony as the first step in the Grafton Gully project to improve motorway traffic access to major destinations in the central business district and port areas.

Michael Barnett, chief of executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, praised Transit New Zealand’s management of the project, both for its care to ensure business traffic was not unduly disturbed during construction and for getting the project completed ahead of schedule.

Noting that the Grafton Gully project is “lucky – it has been funded” and that there are at least another 10 un-funded projects worth a billion dollars of opportunity that could be underway in coming months if money was made available, Mr Barnett urged Minister Swain to have urgent talks with his colleague Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

"While I strongly applaud the progress that Transit NZ has made in the past two years to speed up completion of the motorway network, under current drip-fed funding arrangements it will be another 30-40 years before planned projects are finished.

“That state of affairs is simply unacceptable for a city that contributes a third of New Zealand’s productivity and wants to keep growing.

“With Government’s surplus now a record $5.6 billion - $1.5 billion higher than predicted in the April budget – the economic and political climate could not be better to give Auckland a kick start contribution and ability to borrow and roll Auckland’s strategic roading and public transport infrastructure provision into a single fully funded project aimed at completion within 10 years," concluded Mr Barnett.

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