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Eastern Bottleneck a waste of money at any price

25 August, 2004

Eastern Bottleneck a waste of money at any price

The Green Party says the down-scaling of plans for Auckland's Eastern Motorway is simply a desperate attempt by the roading lobby to keep the project afloat in the face of community opposition.

"The new plan shaves $2.5 billion off the original price," said Green Co-leader and Transport spokesperson, Jeanette Fitzsimons, "but that still leaves $1.5 billion that could be better spent on worthier projects."

Ms Fitzsimons noted that the project would still have enormous environmental and social impact.

"Peoples' homes will still be bulldozed; construction will still impact on the delicate coastal ecosystems of Hobson Bay and Orakei Basin.

"The latest proposal will just create a huge bottleneck when it drops the bus lanes to cross Hobson Bay - a sure recipe for disaster.

"The road lobby continues to fixate on fantasy solutions to congestion problems.

"The only serious solution to Auckland's transport woes revolves around making it easier for people to leave their cars behind," said Ms Fitzsimons. "That means providing quality public transport, better walking and cycling facilities and superior local services so people don't have to drive kilometres to meet their needs.

"One and a half billion dollars could go a long way towards meeting Auckland's rail needs."

Ms Fitzsimons noted that motorway proponents continued to ignore the fact that we're fast approaching the point of peak oil supply, when all the easily extractible oil reserves will be exhausted and oil will be priced beyond the affordability of the ordinary motorist.

"When that happens, only emergency services and the very rich will be using the vast network of concrete monstrosities we're plastering across our communities. At that stage, the only thing most of our hugely expensive motorways will be good for is conversion into bus lanes, walkways and cycle paths."

ENDS

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