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Chamber Calls for Balanced Approach to Transport

Media Release
18 February 2008

Chamber Calls for Balanced Approach to Wellington’s Transport Challenges

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce has launched a campaign encouraging people to make submissions on the Ngauranga to Airport transport consultation currently being undertaken by the local councils.

It has issued 40,000 pamphlets calling for a balanced approach to Wellington’s growing transport problems to counter a group running a campaign against new roads and tunnels.

“The Chamber supports a mix of public transport and roading initiatives to reduce today’s congestion and to ready the city to meet tomorrow’s growing demand,” said Chamber CEO, Charles Finny.

“We need to act now if we want to avoid Auckland’s problems in the future. We need an uncongested roading network, with efficient public transport that integrates with safe and people-friendly cycleways and walkways.

“Efficient and frequent public transport is necessary to encourage people to give up their cars. At the same time, improved roading capacity is needed in anticipation of increased vehicle numbers which are inevitable as Wellington grows. Wellington’s population is expected to increase 19% in the next 20 years. We need to prepare for that growth by investing now.

“A recent Chamber survey showed strong support from Wellington businesses for new tunnels. Our submission will reflect this.

“We are still open on the question of light rail but given its expense and inflexibility, we suspect modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly buses are a better alternative. There is plenty of scope to improve our bus service, with electronic ticketing, rear door boarding, signal pre-emption, real time arrival/departure information, GPS tracking, and improved ability of buses to pass other buses at bus stops.

“We are concerned about a vocal minority running a campaign against increased road capacity. Roads are not bad for the environment. Opponents of roads seem to overlook the fact that public transport also uses roads and even in the future when oil runs out vehicles powered by new technologies (bio fuels, renewable electricity, and hydrogen etc) will still need roads.

“The Chamber has started distributing its pamphlets today. Given the fact that another group is trying to get a large number of submissions opposing roads, it is important that plenty of submissions come in supporting a more balanced approach,” Mr Finny concluded.

ENDS

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