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Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now

25 July 2014

Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now

The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link.

“We need to start building the link now, not some time in the never-never as National proposes,” Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

Over one million Aucklanders used trains in June and more than 11.4 million for the year. The Auckland Transport figures showed rail patronage for 12 months to June was up 13.9 percent.

“We pledge to kick start construction of the Auckland City Rail Link next year to release the full potential of the city's new rail electrification and unlock Auckland's transport woes,” Ms Genter said.

“The first electric trains in Auckland were launched in April and these figures show that delivering cleaner and faster train services across the city will seriously boost rail use and cut road congestion.

“National has belatedly recognised that the rail link must be built, but they have put unrealistic blocks in place so it can’t start until at least 2020, and even then they will find excuses not to proceed.

“Despite falling vehicle use, National is still planning to spend billions on motorways while spending for trains, buses, cycles and walking is starved.

“A national poll this week showed that Aucklanders favour public transport spending over roads by a four to one margin.

“That poll sent National a clear message over its spending priorities: give us better public transport rather than roads.

"The City Rail Link is the next essential step in creating a smarter, greener transport network that works for all Aucklanders. It will unlock the bottleneck at Britomart and get the full benefits of electrification.

"Compared to National's multi-billion dollar duplicate motorways, investing in Auckland rail is cheap and cost-effective,” Ms Genter said.

ENDS

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Gordon Campbell:
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