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Boost To Wellington Public Transport Long Overdue

27 January 2005

Welcome boost to Wellington public transport long overdue

Green MP Sue Kedgley is welcoming the extra $225 million for Wellington transport announced this morning.

"This is a welcome boost for the Capital, the challenge now is to use it wisely", said Ms Kedgley, the Greens' Wellington Transport Spokesperson.

"I particularly welcome the extra $65 million of Government funding to refurbish and upgrade rail rolling stock, which is literally 'on its last wheels'. It is long overdue and a desperately needed catch up. And it's vital if Wellington is to maintain the economic advantage it enjoys from its high public transport usage.

"Coupled with proposals for $30 million over ten years for enhanced public transport and $30 million for demand management, this is a good start towards putting Wellington transport on a sustainable footing."

Jeanette Fitzsimons, the Greens' Transport Spokesperson described today's funding as the latest result of Green-Government co-operation on transport.

"The New Zealand Transport Strategy and its accompanying legislation's focus on land transport, rather than just roads, is leading to the more balanced funding approach we are seeing in Auckland and now Wellington."

Ms Kedgley also praised signs of changes in thinking at a local level: "I am glad to see roading proposals focused on smoothing out bottlenecks and conflicts rather than on grand motorways. We need to avoid ever again embarking on pointless, destructive projects such as the inner-city 'bypass' that are of primary benefit to construction companies and property developers."

"Wellingtonians need to take an active interest in how this money is spent - if people want to build our region's strengths in public transport and walking they will need to speak up loud and clear.

Ms Fitzsimons: "Global issues such as oil depletion and climate change mean we need to look hard at our transport priorities. Some of the funds proposed for roading need to be invested in safeguarding our future - this means more emphasis on public transport and on safeguarding existing transport networks from extreme weather events.

"The Greens and the Government have ensured Wellington has a chance to invest in a sustainable transport future. Councils and communities now need to work together to make it a reality," said Ms Fitzsimons.

ENDS

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