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Greens welcome ARC's backing of airport loop rail

12 June 2008

Greens welcome ARC's backing of airport loop rail plan

Auckland Green Party MP Keith Locke welcomes the Auckland Regional Council transport committee's support for railway extensions that include links to the airport.

The committee voted last night for a $2.2 billion investment in public transport, endorsing the Auckland Regional Transport Authority's plan for rail loops between Britomart and the airport via Avondale, Penrose, Onehunga and Wiri.

The Greens will push for significant Government backing for the plan - which is necessary for it to progress, Mr Locke, Green Party Spokesperson on Auckland Transport Issues, says.

"I note that the cost of the total rail loop package of $2.2 billion is not much more than the $1.89 billion current estimate to complete a mere 4.5 kilometres of motorway - the planned Waterview Connection," Mr Locke says.

"I would welcome a decision by transport funders to divert that $1.89 billion to the airport loop rail project. It is clear with the rocketing price of oil that urgent priority needs to be given to public transport - in this case rail transport - not new motorway projects."

The rail loop plan is good news for Aucklanders in all parts of the city, Mr Locke says.

"West Aucklanders will gain quicker access to the airport and south Auckland through the planned Avondale to Onehunga corridor.

"South Auckland residents will get better access to the airport from Puhinui and those from the east would also get access if the line was extended through Botany Downs, as has been suggested.

"And travelling to the airport will be easier for people in the west/central suburbs of Avondale, Mt Albert and Mt Roskill, who can access the line spanning parts of their suburbs to Onehunga.

"The Green Party agrees with ARC members that these much-needed rail improvements should be an election issue. We challenge other parties to support the plan as something to move on now, not wait for years to implement."


ENDS

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