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Auckland Region Welcomes Govt Transport Package

“Auckland Region Welcomes Government Transport Package”

February 28, 2002

The Auckland Regional Council welcomes the Government’s transport package, announced today, as good for Auckland and good for the country.

“The Government’s package brings more funds, more flexibility and the ability for funding to be strategically focused, all of which will speed up action on Auckland’s transport problems,” said Catherine Harland, ARC chairwoman of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee.

“The Auckland Regional Council has worked closely with this Government for 18 months to develop these solutions to Auckland’s transport issues. The Government’s package is not a knee-jerk reaction; it is the culmination of much careful thought and hard work by all parties over some time,” said Councillor Harland.

Some elements of the Government’s package that will be good for the Auckland region are:

 More funding for roads, to assist in the urgent completion of key roading projects, as set out in the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy

 Dedicated funds for public transport and for cycling and walking, something that the ARC has argued for over many years.

 More flexibility in sourcing funding allowing the introduction of toll roads and allowing private sector funding to be used. “We absolutely applaud this,” said Cr Harland. “In May 2001 the Auckland Transport Action Group, a partnership between the ARC, other public sector organisations and leading Auckland business groups, asked the Government to make funding more flexible and we are delighted that Government has listened.”

 More flexibility for Transfund to follow strategic goals when allocating funding, rather than having to focus only at the project level and being driven by benefit-cost ratios. “Allowing Transfund more flexibility is also something that both ATAG and the ARC have requested that Government do for some time,” said Cr Harland. “Now funding priorities will be able to follow our Regional Transport Strategy.”

 More flexibility for regional councils to fund and own regional infrastructure.

 Articulation of a national vision and purpose directed at integrated, balanced transport solutions. “Changes to Transfund and Transit NZ’s approaches to funding and building transport networks will benefit the whole country in enabling better integration across different modes of transport. For example, it should be easier to build cycleways alongside motorways,” said Catherine Harland.

“The contents of the Government’s package show that the Government recognises and supports the region’s balanced transport strategy,” said Cr Harland.

“For the last several years the Auckland Regional Council has worked with business interests, councils of the Auckland region, Transit NZ and funding authorities to set in place the foundations to improve both roads and public transport. Increased funding and flexibility is critical for our work to bear fruit.”

“Many major roading and public transport projects around the region are now ready to be built after years of work. The next few years will be exciting for Auckland.”

“Easing Auckland’s congestion costs will help the whole country. Half of the nation’s imports come in through Auckland’s ports and airport and must be transported on our roads.”

“The whole country is better off with a more competitive, efficient transport network in Auckland – and Auckland is better able to compete internationally,” said Cr Harland.

FACTSHEET: Major transport projects underway in the Auckland region, following the Regional Land Transport Strategy 1999

State Highway projects:
1. Improve existing network:
 Central Motorway Junction – improve Grafton Gully link to Port – under construction now, 2004 finish; link NW to North – designs prepared, public consultation next
 St Mary’s Bay – 5 lanes, and Victoria Park viaduct – 3 lanes in each direction to speed traffic flows – start construction in 2003
 Greenlane interchange, Waiouru Peninsula link, Northern Motorway to Puhoi, airport access – projects all underway

2. Complete Western Ring Route:
 Upper Harbour motorway – construction starts 2002, to finish in 2004
 Mt Roskill SH20 extn – construction to start 2002, to finish in 2004
 Avondale SH20 extn – public consultation phase 2002
 Manukau SH1-SH20 – early works happening now, design being prepared

Local road construction:
 Auckland City Council: Eastern Corridor between Tamaki Drive and Panmure
 Rodney District Council: Weiti Crossing
 Waitakere City Council: Hobsonville Arterial; Western Arterial (Munro Bridge); Edmonton Road - Trading Place connection; Hickory-Dora Road connection; Whau Crossing; Dunlop Road-Fernhillo Drive arterial extension; Western Arterial extension (Ranui to Birdwood Road)
 Manukau City Council: Liverpool Street to Nesdale Street connection; Druce's Road connection from Great South Road to Allen's Road; Eastern Corridor Study.

Major public transport network improvements underway:
1. Rapid transit corridors:
 Rail corridors purchased by Crown; ARC negotiating access for region; ARTNL ready to begin upgrades to stations, double-tracking of west line, ARC to arrange purchase of new rolling stock 2002-2008
 Britomart – the central transport interchange – ACC constructing now, opening mid 2003
 North Shore Busway – Transit/NSCC/ARC joint project: first stage of Esmonde Rd bus lane open; 5 bus stations being designed; completed busway 2005
 Central Transit Corridor – ACC led project: dedicated bus/LRT route in central Auckland - 2 routes chosen, consultation next

2. Public Transport integration
 ARC integrating services and focusing them on customer needs in sector service reviews – North Shore sector under review in 2002
 Integrated ticketing – business case being prepared by ARC

3. Bus network
 Bus priority measures are improving speed and reliability - lanes already along many arterial routes – local council/ARC joint initiatives; more being planned
 Signal pre-emption at lights – buses first, 174 to be installed 2002-04: ARC leading the project, working with bus operators and local councils
 Real Time information boards – 50 along Link route; 154 at other major bus stops in ACC 2002-04; all 713 buses to have GPS equipment; ARC leading project.

4. Ferry services and wharf improvements
 ARC investigating new services; local councils negotiating ownership of wharves with Ports of Auckland; funding being sought for upgrades identified by strategy

5. Information services
 ARC’s Rideline call centre volumes steadily increasing; website - 24/7 information, launched in May 2001
 ARC launches Rideline to Mobile (txt msging and WAP) services – launching March 2002

Growth in public transport patronage:
 Public transport patronage has steadily increased since 1994.
 1994: 33.3 million rides on public transport per year
 2001: 44.1 million rides on public transport per year.
 7% regional increase in 1999-2000 and 7.6% in 2000-2001 (on target for similar increase in this financial year).

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