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Chch needs more motorways like a hole in the head

30 June 2005

Chch needs more motorways like a hole in the head

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald has criticised the $4.2 million in today's National Land Transport Programme earmarked for investigating an extension of the Southern Motorway.

"The last thing Christchurch needs is an extended Southern Motorway," Mr Donald said. "The extension, with a price tag of $121 million, is a white elephant project that should be immediately shelved.

"It's foolish to spend $4.2 million to investigate more big roading projects when petrol prices are going through the roof. This money would be far better spent on investigating passenger rail services from Rolleston, Rangiora and Lyttleton and getting more freight off the roads and back on track.

"The Southern Motorway extension is a prime example of how big roads drain funding from more cost-effective and forward-looking options."

However, Mr Donald welcomed the extra funding for Christchurch public transport in the programme.

"The Greens working with Labour has ensured $12.3 million for Christchurch's public transport this year, an increase of 20 percent. In part, this funding injection will ensure an improved frequency of bus services so that public transport becomes more attractive."

Green Co-Leader and Transport Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons said the National Land Transport Programme's concentration on building more roads, promoted by National and pursued by Labour, was dangerous, short-term thinking.

"Oil prices are rising inexorably, touching US$60 a barrel, yet we are still building roads like there is no tomorrow. Far more money needs to be diverted into expanding public transport, rail and coastal shipping so people and business have viable alternatives as the end of cheap oil beckons and the costs of climate change start to bite.

"We are now spending the same amount on building new roads as on maintaining current ones. This begs the question of how the Government plans to maintain all these new roads in the future. And given that we have known since the 1930s that building more roads encourages more car use, we must ask what the purpose of the new roads is when they're certainly not going to help with gridlock."

ENDS

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