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Ministers welcome Auckland’s rail vision

Ministers welcome Auckland’s rail vision

Paul Swain, Minister of Transport, and Judith Tizard, Minister for Auckland Issues, have given an enthusiastic welcome to the draft Auckland Passenger Rail Upgrade Project business plan.

“Auckland is to be congratulated for the boldness of its rail vision,” said Paul Swain and Judith Tizard.

“The draft plan’s aim to increase annual rail passenger trips from 2.5 million to 25 million by 2015 will, if successful, play a major role in reducing congestion on Auckland’s roads, in addition to delivering major environmental benefits from greater use of trains and other forms of passenger transport,” the Ministers said.

“The government’s purchasing of the Auckland rail network for $81 million has provided the stable platform from which the Rail Upgrade Project can be launched. Future rail investment and rail passenger planning decisions can now be made with confidence. The purchase has meant that central and local government are now better placed to work together to deliver improved rail passenger transport services to Aucklanders.

“As the draft Plan notes, solving Auckland’s transport needs will require a variety of solutions, including improved passenger transport and alternative means of revenue raising. The government’s Land Transport Management Bill already allows for the funding of roading projects from public-private partnerships and tolls.”

The Ministers said the government would welcome the opportunity to discuss other funding and travel demand management initiatives with the Auckland region, as suggested in the business plan.

“The report talks about funding for passenger transport via regional petrol tax, parking levies and congestion pricing. The government is already working on these and other possible transport revenue initiatives, as well as looking at ways to manage the existing roading network more efficiently.

“We are all anxious to ensure Aucklanders have better transport choices, and this plan is a significant step forward. The government has a real commitment to helping improve the region’s passenger transport networks. Government passenger transport funding for the Auckland region has increased from $18.4 million for 1999-2000 to $32.4 million for 2001-2002, not including the buy-back of the rail network.

“The authors note that the draft plan will be subject to further refinement. We look forward to discussing funding options, and possible support with the Plan’s authors, the Mayoral Forum and other interested parties,” said the Ministers.

“We congratulate the Auckland Regional Council, Infrastructure Auckland, and the Auckland Regional Transport Network Ltd on their work. We look forward to the final report.”

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