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Minister turns blind eye to roading crisis

Minister turns blind eye to roading crisis

National’s Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson, says Transport Minister David Parker showed today just how out of touch he is with the roading crisis.

“In answers to questions in Parliament, Mr Parker made it clear he does not believe that any extra money, other than what has already been committed, is needed to address the roading crisis.

“He also showed he has no appreciation of the demands the 2011 Rugby World Cup will have on roads.

“In 2011 we will be showcasing New Zealand to the world. If traffic volumes keep growing, and no extra impetus is put into building roads, we’ll be showcasing one of the world’s most gridlocked cities. It will be a national embarrassment.

“Mr Parker said he didn’t believe we should expedite funding for an event that may last a few weeks or even a month. Well, he should look across the Tasman at how much extra funding Sydney put into roading for a two-week event – the 2000 Olympics. It’s not like these roads are needed only for the Rugby World Cup. They’re needed right now and will be needed well beyond the Cup.

“The Prime Minister gave the International Rugby Board an assurance that we would do everything necessary to ensure we have adequate infrastructure to cope. David Parker doesn’t seem to have heard her.

“He also failed to give an assurance on the one piece of crucial roading that is scheduled to be completed before 2011 – the Highway 20 Mt Roskill extension. When asked if he would guarantee that the project would not be subject to the delays suffered by other major roading projects, he said: ‘… there are significant and very expensive multi hundreds of millions of dollars of roading projects already being carried out in Auckland, including on the western ring route’.

Mr Williamson said it is clear there is not enough money for roading.

“Last week Transit said there would be a delay of at least six months on the upgrade of State Highway 2 at Mangatawhiri because of a lack of funds. Many people have died on that piece of road, and more could be avoided if the bypass was built now.

“The Minister also failed to give an assurance about the upgrade of Newmarket Viaduct which was scheduled to start in 2010. Why not ensure that is completed by 2011?”

Ends

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