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Vanity motorway projects not answer to Auckland transport

28 June 2013

Exorbitant vanity motorway projects not the answer to Auckland transport problems

The National Government’s Auckland motorway plan will cost the New Zealand public an exorbitant amount of money for little value, the Green Party said today.

The National Government today announced a $5 billion plan for a Waitemata Harbour rail and road tunnel crossing, and for further billions to be spent on expanded and new motorways.

“New Zealanders are being forced to pay exorbitant amounts for National Government vanity motorway projects when what we need is smart investment in public transport,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.

“New Zealand needs investment in public transport, especially rail, which would save the country billions of dollars and be more effective at reducing congestion.

“A rail only habour tunnel would cost less than $2b, saving the public $3b, it would ease congestion on the Harbour Bridge and it wouldn’t dump thousands more cars and trucks into the CBD.

“Pouring more traffic into the heart of Auckland is just going to clog its arteries.

“John Key and his National Government have once again shown that they are not prudent financial managers.

“The Government should be spending the public's money on projects that will genuinely improve New Zealand's transport system. Instead they are spending like drunken sailors on vanity motorway projects that won’t help congestion but will increase greenhouse gas emissions and will increase the cost of oil imports.

“It seems like National has to balance out a positive decision to back the city rail link in Auckland with one to back motorways at any cost,” Dr Norman said.

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said the facts did not back up today’s decision.

“Neither commuter nor freight demand justify a new crossing. Traffic volumes haven’t increased above 2006 levels on the Harbour Bridge, and when the Western Ring Route is complete far less freight will go through the inner city.

“The smart, green approach would be to invest in rail as a priority, because that not only moves many more people at lower cost, it also frees up our existing roads.

“The smart, green approach would be to get the city rail link up and running by 2021, so we can extend rail to the North Shore and airport as soon as possible.

“We can reduce transport costs in smarter ways, by urgently fixing up our existing roads and giving more New Zealanders choices, to avoid clogging the roads at peak,” Ms Genter said.

ENDS

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