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Wgtn Bypass A Threat To Communities Throughout NZ

28 April 2004
Wgtn bypass a threat to communities throughout NZ

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is writing to the Chair of Transfund to point out the "woeful inadequacies" of Transit NZ's application to build Wellington's innercity bypass. She warns that if the project proceeds on the basis of Transit's report communities fighting other destructive roads will have much to fear.

The Transfund board will meet on Monday to decide whether or not to pay for the bypass after both it and Transit were required by Cabinet to reconsider major roading proposals under the terms of the new Land Transport Management Act.

"Transit's application to Transfund for bypass funding is a sales pitch - full of assertions and based on no objective analysis or evidence. There is no sign that Transit has even begun to adapt itself to the requirements of the Land Transport Management Act, which was developed jointly by the Government and the Greens and passed last year," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Spokesperson on Transport

"If this is the level of analysis that Transfund thinks is sufficient to vote funds, then every community challenging poorly planned roading projects should be very afraid.

"Unfortunately, while the Government required this review, it appears to have no intention of ensuring it is actually meaningful, which at the least would involve monitoring whether Transit and Transfund are actually carrying out the intention of the Land Transport Management Act."

When the new law was being developed, Cabinet required all major existing proposals to be reviewed to ensure they met the Act's improved social and environmental criteria. Transfund therefore required Transit to show that the bypass is still the best proposal when compared with the alternatives and develop a package of proposals to ensure any benefits are sustained. The result is the inch-thick dossier made available by Transit last night.

"This document looks serious at first glance but is actually nothing more than the same people who have promoted the project over many years looking at the same issues and reaching the same conclusions."

A few of the many omissions are:

* Any assessment of child safety, despite increased traffic volumes close to four schools and a pre-school

* Any discussion of the inevitable increase in congestion at the Basin Reserve

* Any objective factual analysis of the impacts of the alternatives on air pollution

* Any consideration of whether the original objectives can be met by spending $39 million on enhancing public transport instead. "All I have ever asked for is a proper re-evaluation under the new Act and that still hasn't happened. Until it does, Transfund should not approve funding, so I am writing to the chair of Transfund today to suggest some hard questions the board should be asking at its meeting on Monday," said Ms Fitzsimons.

ENDS

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