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Govt gets Wellington transport priorities wrong

5 July 2005

Govt gets Wellington transport priorities wrong

The Green Party says the Government's transport priorities for Wellington are seriously skewed.

"The Government is today promising nearly $660 million extra for Wellington transport over ten years but it's putting it in all the wrong areas," Ms Kedgley said. "More than three quarters of this money is for more roads, while public transport investment amounts to little more than basic upgrade and maintenance work."

Today's package includes four-laning of the coastal route between McKays Crossing and Pukerua Bay, but not double-tracking of the parallel railway line in this area.

"The Government has its Wellington transport priorities back to front," Ms Kedgley said. "Wellington desperately needs to be investing in proper public transport upgrades not yet more big roading projects.

"The recent Wellington Regional Council paper gave the cost of a comprehensive upgrade of public transport in the Western Corridor at just over $400 million. This ought to be our first priority, not yet more big roading projects."

The Government is taking a head-in-the-sand approach driven by short-term electoral populism, Ms Kedgley said.

"Allocating most of the money to roading ignores climate change and the end of cheap oil. Projects which encourage more car use and hence more fossil fuels will both increase our Kyoto bill and leave us economically vulnerable as the age of cheap oil comes to an end."

Major roading projects will also face significant conflicts as Transit and Councils try to bulldoze local interests.

"I can't imagine residents of Pukerua Bay will take kindly to a new road through their community. We could be looking at another inner-city 'Bypass'.

"$660 million can either help buy us a regionwide state-of-the-art public transport system and provide insurance against rising costs, or it can buy us a few more kilometres of asphalt and a larger Kyoto bill. It's a shame Dr Cullen seems to want to 'outbulldozer' Brash. Labour and National are ignoring New Zealand's long-term interests."

Officials involved in transport planning have claimed that improved passenger transport could not resolve key reliability and congestion issues along the Western Corridor are inaccurate, Ms Kedgley said.

"Wellington uses a model which assumes most people won't leave their cars even though some involved in the modelling have admitted they can't properly model the effect of upgrading public transport and putting in place demand management measures."

ENDS


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