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Motorways, Not Rail, Will Solve Congestion

Motorways, Not Rail, Will Solve Auckland Congestion

The proposed $1 billion rail scheme for Auckland won't solve the city's transport problems and is likely to cost far more than the sums optimistically being mentioned, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

"It's also hard to see why taxpayers should pick up the $400 million cost of the Britomart scheme which was originally promoted as not costing ratepayers anything. Now it appears Auckland councillors intend to finance it by pushing it onto the taxpayer," Mr Prebble said.

"This transport proposal is apparently the result of a committee of local body politicians and reads like a political wish list rather than a carefully worked-out, practical solution to the city's transport woes.

"No figures have been produced to say how many passengers will go on this new transport system. We've yet to see what will be the continuing cost in subsidies.

"The last credible figures I've seen indicate the cost per passenger will not only be so great that it would be cheaper for passengers to travel by taxi, but they might as well be given the taxi too.

"The scheme has been absurdly over-sold as the solution to Auckland's transport problems. But even the most optimistic passenger projections show the extra number of people carried will not keep pace with the increase in traffic volume during the period of the scheme's construction.

"In other words, after spending $1 billion - or more likely $2 billion - Auckland's traffic congestion will still be worse than it is now.

"It's time local and central government politicians were more frank with the public about the true cost of this rail scheme, and what little difference it will make..

"The only way to make a significant difference to Auckland's traffic congestion is to complete the original motorways, as designed by the Ministry of Works in the 1950s. Auckland already owns most of the land and all the roads meet Transit's benefit/cost ratio.

"Promoting schemes like this latest rail plan - and over-estimating its cost and over-selling its benefits - just delay us from getting on with the job of solving the real problem which is a lack of roads.

"All other political parties and councils are too politically correct to take the sensible transport decisions that are needed," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS

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