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Wellington transport missing the bus, say Greens


30 March, 2004

Wellington transport missing the bus, say Greens

Green MP Sue Kedgley welcomed today's transport announcements that will provide a $220 million boost over 10 years to the Capital's transport, but warned that years of complacency has left the Wellington region far behind Auckland in thinking about sustainable transport needs.

Ms Kedgley, the Green Associate Transport spokesperson, called for Wellington's civic leaders to work with the community to develop a sustainable transport package for Wellington so the $220 million delivers real benefits.

"Auckland has got money for a sustainable land transport system, and its time our local bodies leaders seized the opportunity to build on Wellington's strengths with a sustainable transport package," said Ms Kedgley.

"Our economic strength is that we are a compact, walkable city with excellent public transport connections. Yet there has been almost no new investment in Wellington's public transport infrastructure for decades.

"Although Wellington's passenger transport system compares very favourably with Auckland's woeful network, we must not let this obscure the fact that Wellington's infrastructure has suffered a decades-long decline.

"Both the Johnsonville-line units and Wellington's trolley bus power supply are in desperate need of repair," she said, "and it is plain embarrassing that Auckland is doing far more that Wellington to reduce the need for parents to drive their kids to school."

Ms Kedgley said Wellingtonians overwhelmingly want a people-friendly city with excellent public transport. "The solution to congestion in Wellington is not to build yet another road or a bypass, but to reduce the number of cars coming into the city by luring commuters out of cars and into upgraded, high quality trains."

"Just last week, 1500 commuters switched to the train which resulted in the lowest level of congestion in years at Mana. Imagine how many commuters might switch if our trains were modern, state of the art and reliable," she said.

Ms Kedgley noted that there are $65 million worth of new state highways projects underway in Wellington region and just under $40 million of central government funds is spent annually on road maintenance.

"Wellington is not being short-changed on roading, rather it is being short-changed by civic leaders who have yet to take sustainable transport seriously. We need a widely accepted plan for investment in passenger transport, walking and cycling," said Ms Kedgley.

ENDS

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