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Banks' love affair with roads dooms Auckland

Banks' love affair with roads dooms Auckland to diesel hell

Mayor John Banks' road-obsessed vision for Auckland's future would confine the nation's biggest city to a concrete, diesel-infused vision of hell, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Ms Fitzsimons was responding to Mr Banks' keynote address to the New Zealand Land Transport Summit in Auckland today, in which Mr Banks confirms his commitment to provide for unlimited growth in cars at the expense of our pockets, our health and our environment.

"Mr Banks' vision for the future involves spending billions more on motorways. Yet Infrastructure Auckland advises me that even if Auckland can find the $4.96 billion needed to do all proposed motorway projects, by 2020 traffic will get 50 per cent worse in the central Auckland isthmus, 20 per cent worse in the west and almost 10 per cent worse in the south.

"Auckland could have 15 per cent less traffic by 2015 rather than 50 per cent more, if it adopts sensible transport policies. These could include an integrated rail backbone with a harbour crossing; and some milestone projects so people can see progress - for example, a fast regular rail from Auckland city to Manukau and the airport," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"To ensure a greener, more sustainable future for Auckland, initiatives should start at local level - with traffic reduction plans developed in partnership with schools and businesses. Cities around the world that have tried to reduce traffic succeed; cities that build motorways to feed the car habit fail to solve their problems. It's that simple."

Ms Fitzsimons said she would like to challenge John Banks to debate the evidence in public, as he was failing his citizens and his city when they most needed leadership.

"John Banks wants to strangle Auckland with more concrete and ever-greater numbers of cars. The Greens are ready and willing to debate this issue anywhere, anytime. At a time when Auckland needs leadership and the courage to change, it finds itself saddled instead with an asphalt messiah."

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