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City Voice: Four parties back Transmission Gully

One of the biggest local issues for Wellington voters in a City Voice poll in June was transport. Sarla Donovan reports.

WELLINGTON faces some major transport issues in the shape of Transmission Gully, the inner-city “bypass” and public transport. Labour, National, Act and United all favour Transmission Gully, leaving only the Alliance and Greens advocating public transport instead.

Labour Transmission Gully: Labour agrees that there needs to be an alternative route in and out of Wellington. Wellington Central candidate Marian Hobbs says the capital needs another route in and out because of the earthquake risk.

Tolls: Labour would consider tolls to speed investment in alternative routes, with a private company building the road, operating a toll then transferring the road back to public ownership within a set timeframe.

Bypass: Hobbs opposes it.

Restructuring is needed, says transport spokesman Harry Duynhoven.

Labour would merge the operations of state highways and local body roads in order to achieve more coherence in roading and public transport.

National Privatisation: The only party advocating privatisation aside from ACT.

Reforms have been put on hold until after the election but they’re controversial and involve roads being run on a commercial basis by four to eight local road companies.These would be owned by the local authorities who would appoint the directors.

Tolls: This is basically user pays roading which bypasses the principle of collective ownership in favour of direct user charging through mechanisms like tolls. This would allow Transmission Gully to be built sooner.

Funding: The petrol tax would be abolished as would the property-based rates levy.

Public transport: Regional councils would fund public transport.

Act Privatisation: Act advocates restructuring roading , then privatisation.

Ohariu-Belmont candidate Kathryn Asare proposes private sector involvement, as in Labour’s proposal where roads are built and operated by private companies then transferred to public ownership eventually.

Transmission Gully: Using a scheme like this the road could get built quickly, says Asare. It would cut congestion because tolls can be varied with the time of day. She says tolls are fairer: “Currently, groups like beneficiaries, students and the elderly are forced to pay through rates, road use charges and petrol taxes for the high use of other members of society.”

Bypass: Wellington Central MP Richard Prebble supports the bypass.

United Public transport: United MP Peter Dunne has said United supports the retention of a viable public transport system. The party would discourage the use of non-renewable fuels and introduce incentives for studies into alternative energy transport.

Transmission Gully: The party supports it and has a petition in circulation urging the government to set aside funding to “enable construction.” The party supports the BOOT system (build, operate, own, transfer) advocated by Labour and ACT where the road is eventually returned to public ownership.

Privatisation: It does not state a case for privatisation and does not support road tolls as a general means of funding road use.

Alliance Transmission Gully: Phillida Bunkle questions spending $250 million on one road. She advocates greater spending on public transport, saying more roads may increase traffic volumes flowing into the city.

Public transport: Bunkle proposes extending a light rail system through the city to the airport.

Funding: Fuel taxes would continue but cleaner fuels with less negative effect on the environment would be taxed at a lower rate than “dirty” fuels.

Transport spokesman John Wright has said the extent of public transport subsidy should be based on locally decided social and environmental goals within a framework set by central government.

Greens Transmission Gully: Transport spokeswoman Sue Kedgley says the Greens would seek a moratorium on all urban motorways for five years. She says while congestion is “strangling” Auckland, new roads would increase car numbers and congestion would remain.

Bypass: Kedgley opposes it.

Public transport: The answer to congested roads is better public transport, she says. Currently 5% of Transfund money goes on public transport. The Greens would spend $100 million a year on new public transport initiatives such as bus-only lanes, electric buses, light rail and integrated ticketing.

Funding: Similar to Labour’s policy of decentralising so regions have control over how much is spent on roads and how much on public transport.

• Wgtn Central candidates at City Voice/Scoop election forum on transport, St Andrew’s on the Terrace, Thu 4 Nov, 7.30pm.

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