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Big boost to public transport in Green Transport

A $100 million yearly investment in upgrading public transport systems and a five-year moratorium on urban highway building are highlights of the Greens' Transport policy released today.

Green Party Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said the policies were needed because after 30 years of prolific road building, urban congestion problems had become increasingly severe.

"Instead of building more roads, we need to develop a range of innovative transport solutions that offer New Zealanders different transport options," Ms Kedgley said.

The Greens would introduce a Road Traffic Reduction Act similar to that passed in the United Kingdom.

"We also need to ensure that the true costs of transport -including environmental costs - are taken into account in government funding decisions."

Ms Kedgley said cheap Japanese imports, comparatively cheap petrol prices and a lack of attractive, alternative transport options had resulted in a growth in car trips of 3-5% a year in urban areas.

"This is unsustainable," she said. "Unless we invest in alternative transport options, all our cities will become gridlocked, and so less prosperous and less liveable."

Ms Kedgley said public transport had been the poor cousin in transport funding for far too long. Only 5% or $48 million out of Transfund's $900 million budget was allocated to public transport.

The Greens' $100 million investment in public transport would go towards public transport infrastructure such as light rail, bus-only lanes, integrated ticketing systems, park and ride and other ways of making public transport more convenient and attractive.

The Greens have also unveiled a transport strategy for Auckland involving extensive cycle and bus only lanes, integrated ticketing, extension of the rail system to Britomart, a low cost interchange at Britomart, light rail, a public transport lane across the Harbour Bridge, encouragement of telecommuting, more flexible working hours, etc.

Other initiatives include:

Vehicle emission testing as part of the Warrant of Fitness check

Promoting clean burning fuels such as CNG and LPG

* Developing a national cycling strategy with better cycling facilities

* A carbon tax to reflect the impact of exhaust emissions on the environment

Sue Kedgley: 04 384 9123

Adam Shelton: Green Party parliamentary media officer: 04 470 6723

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