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Transit's plan lacks credibility

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Transit's plan lacks credibility

The 10 year plan announced by Transit New Zealand tonight, and the extra funding made available, are welcome responses to increasing public anxiety and pressure on transport, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

But to get transport developments underway changes will be needed to the Land Transport Management Act and the Resource Management Act, said EMA's chief executive Alasdair Thompson.

"The new funding and time table look good on paper but no one believes they will result in faster road building in Auckland or anywhere else," Mr Thompson said.

"The package won't get urgently needed public transport projects going any faster either.

"You just have to look at Transit's record to see that.

"Though it's often through no fault of theirs, Transit has frequently announced start dates for critical new projects only to see them delayed time and again.

"Tonight's announcement ignores the fact that in 2000 Transit said it would have the Mt Roskill motorway extension finished by now.

"Then in 2003 Transit said it would start construction that year. It said the same thing last year, and again this year.

"Getting the Avondale extension of the vital western ring route back on track to start within 10 years is a positive sign but there's no evidence in its plan that Transit can keep to its latest work schedule any more than it could to earlier schedules.

"This is true though contractors tell us there are no construction capacity constraints, and though there's no indication the $500 million extra for transport infrastructure that materialised last week has made a difference.

"We attribute the delays facing Transit largely to the ponderous and obstructive requirements of the LTMA and RMA. These are preventing sensible, effective environmental and transport solutions.

"For example, Auckland's traffic congestion is responsible for far more energy use and emissions than anyone wants or needs.

"If by some miracle Transit defied the LTMA and RMA and did keep to its latest schedule the western ring route would still not be completed at least until 2021.

"That's a result of the consultation time for big projects currently in Auckland of around eight years. It took that time before construction began on Grafton Gully. Similarly consultation began on the critical North Shore Busway in 1997 before work began this year.

"When eight years is added to the start date of the Avondale extension, plus four years construction, the time for completing a basic western ring route is 2021 or beyond.

"By then traffic delays around Auckland will be down to a crawl with the time taken for vehicles obliged to go through spaghetti junction wasting half each working day."


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