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Mayor Curtis Delighted By Government Action

Mayor Curtis Delighted By Government Action On Auckland's Transport Problems

The government's transport funding plan is the circuit breaker the Auckland region needed and is extremely welcome, Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says.

"It will have an enormous impact on the entire region and was the kind of announcement we've been waiting for. I'm very pleased that our recent urgent call for action from the government has been heeded."

An action plan to fast-track progress on major transport projects was drawn up recently by the region's seven mayors, and conveyed to the government. The plan sets down a list of priorities for major roading and passenger transport projects and proposed a way of funding them.

"Our strong links with the government have had the result we were looking for. Getting the money to pay for these vital infrastructural works in the region is the key to unclogging our roads and improving our bus, train and ferry transport. The situation is urgent as every frustrated driver facing unacceptable delays on major roads will testify. There is no time to lose. We believe that with this funding the region should make progress on all major projects, in particular completing the motorway network, within five years.

"I believe the Auckland region has not had its fair share of transport funding for some time but that is now being remedied," Sir Barry said.

The total cost of the projects outlined in the mayoral action plan is $2.6 billion for roads and $559 million for train, bus and ferry transport.

Sir Barry says these projects are in the national interest because Auckland's problems are easily the worst in the country, and there is so much traffic passing through the region. The traffic delays are affecting businesses as well as individual drivers, and costing $1 billion a year in economic losses.

"For the first time the mayors are in absolute agreement about what needs to be done and we've agreed on a set of priorities in transport. That's a reflection of how serious the situation has become."

The projects identified as roading priorities in the mayors' action plan are:

- The Western Corridor bypass (State Highway 20 south western motorway projects)

- Eastern Corridor from Panmure to the port and CBD

- North Western Motorway Corridor (State Highway 18 / Upper Harbour Motorway Projects)

- Southern Motorway and related interchange upgrades

- Northern Corridor projects

The priority passenger transport projects are:

- The Central Transit Corridor linking key destinations of the CBD, Auckland University, Auckland Hospital and Newmarket with the Auckland region.

- North Shore busway and upgrade of Esmonde Road interchange.

- Upgrading of the suburban rail network, stations and related infrastructure.

- Ferry terminals on the Waitemata Harbour and additional Upper Harbour services.

The action plan also called for improved integration of the region's passenger transport services such as co-ordinating timetabling between bus, rail and ferry services, and better-managed peak hour services.


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