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Climate change bill aims to future-proof transport

Climate change bill aims to future-proof transport

Parliament could soon be taking some real steps to counter both climate change and the rising cost of fuel thanks to the drawing today of one of the Green Party's Six Pack of Climate Change Bills announced last November.

The Climate Change (Transport Funding) Bill, sponsored by Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, aims to gradually increase the National Land Transport Fund allocated to public transport, walking and cycling, rail, coastal shipping and travel demand management.

"A significant increase in funding to these areas will help people take up sustainable alternatives to private car use," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"With the cost of fuel steadily increasing, people are already seeking alternatives to using their own vehicles. It is pointless to keep pouring money into more and more new roading projects, which will only end up being very expensive white elephants.

"It makes far more sense to provide people the alternatives they are seeking - a fast, efficient public transport network, and access to safe and convenient cycling and walking routes.

"It will also decrease the amount of freight transported on roads. Getting freight onto coastal shipping and rail has huge benefits. It gets long-haul trucks off the roads, saving fuel and reducing the amount of CO2 emissions.

In the 2007/08 year the National Land Transport Programme spent six times as much maintaining and expanding the road network as it did on providing more sustainable options like public transport.

"While having good roads is important, we have to prepare for the increased demand on alternatives once fossil fuels become less affordable.

"It is a timely reminder that the drawing of this Bill coincides with yet another 5 cents-a-litre rise in petrol prices today and also today the United Nations released figures showing that New Zealand's per capita greenhouse gas emissions were among the worst in the world. The initiatives in this Bill will help us reduce our total emissions and play our part in combating global climate change," Ms Fitzsimons says.

ENDS

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