Big Opportunities For Wgtn In Transport Package
28 February 2002
Big Opportunities For Wellington In Transport Package
The Government's Green-tinged transport funding package is good news for Wellington, Green Party Transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
"The Greens have lobbied hard to get the $69 million allocated for passenger assistance and alternatives to roading, and that could be used to to transform our ageing rail network into a modern, attractive, state of the art commuter rail network, including light rail," she said.
Under the new package, which the Greens have been negotiating with the Government for the past three months, Transfund will be required to focus on public transport, rather than just roading, and to consider benefits to health, the community and the environment in making decisions.
All currently planned roading projects will now have to be reviewed within one year against a new set of strategic objectives - such as environmental sustainability - which have been agreed between the Greens and the Government.
This will make it much easier to get money for upgrading our commuter rail network, including the 18 50-year-old 'life expired' carriages that need to be urgently replaced, Ms Kedgley said.
"In my opinion not a cent should be spent on transport-related issues in Wellington until we have ensured the survival of our commuter rail service."
Ms Kedgley said the proposed inner city bypass would now have to be reviewed to see whether it meets new strategic objectives and she was confident that it would almost certainly fail to do so.
"The package gives priority to new roading initiatives that have the widespread support of the community. Clearly the bypass fails on this count too. We will now have to focus on alternative, sustainable transport solutions that protect our city's heritage," she said.
"This means the funky, historic area of Te Aro is no longer under threat and the area can blossom once again."
If the region is to seize on the possibilities offered by the package, however, the Mayors and Wellington Regional Council will have to bury their differences and band together to advocate for funding to upgrade our rail network and find sustainable transport solutions, she said.