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Labour has big questions to answer on transport

Labour has big questions to answer on transport

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour must be very clear which much-needed transport projects it would cut to enable the Auckland-centric public transport spend up it’s promising.

“National supports public transport, and has spent more on it than any other government, but we’re also funding important projects to make our State highways safer and better equipped to handle a projected 50 per cent increase in freight over the next 30 years.

“We back building Auckland’s City Rail Loop, and have brought the start date forward by a decade, to 2020.

“But we’re also backing the regions, having increased regional road funding while in government, and most recently with a $212 million investment from the Future Investment Fund for a package of 14 regionally important State highway projects.

“And we’ve signalled even further regional roading investment in the Draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.

“A fund of up to $90 million a year will be established, which can only be spent on regional projects.

“Labour meanwhile says it would ‘re-evaluate’ the Kapiti Expressway – a project which has already started and has over 400 people employed building it.

“And, in a move bound to outrage Wellingtonians and those on the Kapiti Coast, Labour would again delay Transmission Gully – a project with contracts already signed and due to get underway next month.

“Add to that a cancellation of the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance – a project supported by councils from Auckland to the Far North – and it’s clear Labour is turning its back on every city but Auckland and much of small-town New Zealand.

“Labour’s rail policy is also a mess of conflicting ideas and promises.

“National has invested over $1.04 billion to turn KiwiRail into a financially viable business, and there’s still much to be done.

“Labour says it will continue the turnaround plan, but in the next breath says they’ll invest in lines that lose money, such as the Gisborne-to-Napier line and the Capital Connection.

“National on the other hand is taking a balanced approach to all forms of transport, from walking and cycling to public transport and road building, and proposes investing $38.7 billion over the next 10 years.

“This would continue the government’s prioritisation of economic growth and productivity, safety, and value for money.

“Labour needs to front up to New Zealanders and reveal which projects so important to their communities are now in jeopardy,” Mr Brownlee says.

Ends

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