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Greens and Govt fast-forward Auckland transport

30 March, 2004

Greens and Govt fast-forward Auckland transport

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has welcomed today's transport announcements that will provide major improvements to Auckland's transport infrastructure while also benefiting the rest of the country with an increased emphasis on passenger transport, demand management and walking and cycling facilities.

"Today's legislation and funding is a key step towards a workable public transport system within the reach of most Aucklanders," said Ms Fitzsimons. "This means cleaner air, safer streets and better public health."

The Greens and the Government jointly developed both the New Zealand Transport Strategy, and the Land Transport Management Act, leading to the announcements today that Auckland will receive a $1.62 billion boost to prioritise transport demand management, passenger transport such as the rail plan, and key infrastructure upgrades.

Ms Fitzsimons said the new legislation will help create the best transport system for Auckland, rather than build the biggest roads. "Auckland can't motorway its way out of trouble - these new structures support integrated, effective and sustainable solutions, not mayoral monuments.

"The next ten years will see oil depletion and climate change rising rapidly up the agenda. Congestion is crippling Auckland, but the sequence must be: first provide alternatives to the car, then look at pricing measures, and then see what smart roading initiatives are needed according to new traffic patterns."

The Auckland Regional Council will soon start on the task of revising its Regional Transport Strategy (RLTS). Ms Fitzsimons said the RLTS will no longer list pet projects; rather it will identify strategic transport issues taking a balanced look at social, economic and environmental needs.

"The new Auckland Regional Transport Agency's (ARTA) job will be to turn these high-level objectives into practical results. Auckland is already finding out what works - walking school buses and school travel plans have cut congestion on the North Shore and public transport use has risen rapidly across the whole region.

"Today's emphasis on integrating transport and land use is simple commonsense. In plain English, cities work better when you can live, work, play and learn without being utterly reliant on a car," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons also welcomed the $1.35 billion investment for regional transport systems. "I particularly hope that under the new legislation, regions which have ignored public transport, traffic demand management and cycle facilities will be encouraged to look towards that future."


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