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Transit's credibility out the window

Tuesday, 22 February, 2006

Transit's credibility out the window; fuel tax shortfall suspect

The worst signal Transit could give business was to backtrack yet again on its commitments to build transport infrastructure faster, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"Transit's programme is not what Government said would be happening," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Transit is in the process of breaking the Prime Minister's promise last year, and again last week, that the western ring route in Auckland would be completed by 2015.

"It's programme announced today in it's 10 year State Highway Forecast will cause political embarrassment; last May the Government instructed Transit to accelerate its transport construction programme, not delay it.

"Last week the PM told Parliament the Government had 'embarked on huge infrastructure upgrades in transport' and this week Transit announces cut backs - it's incredible.

"The PM has said the western ring route would be completed by 2015 provided Auckland accepts tolling of it; as the Transit programme does not include completion dates we suspect Transit is setting Auckland up for further delays.

"Aucklanders have widely indicated their support for equitable tolling, for example in AA surveys.

"The cut backs are said to be due to lower fuel taxes collected owing to higher costs and more fuel efficiency, but the figures and any analysis of them are nowhere available.

"It could all be pure speculation for all we know. What we do know is 30 more cars join Auckland's total fleet every day.

"Last year Transit provided completion dates for many major programmes; this year they have left them out. If their funding projections had any merit at all they could have included them.

"The delays right now when the construction industry is gearing up to meet higher construction demand is plainly damaging.

"Transit's stop-start highway 'planning' has to stop."


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