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Climate Change largely ignored by draft strategy

Ben Wilde,
Option3 spokesperson
http://www.option3.org.nz

Press Release:

Climate Change largely ignored by draft Regional Land Transport Strategy

A broad coalition of groups today joined with Option3 to strongly criticise the draft Regional Land Transport Strategy, a summary of which is currently being sent to households across the region. Climate Defence Network, Cycle Aware Wellington, ECO, Heartbeat Wellington, Living Streets Aotearoa, Kapiti Transport Action Group, Option3, Transport 2000+ and the Wellington Civic Trust have joined together to express their concern at the lack of funding for new Public Transport services, walking and cycling.
These groups are concerned that new roads represent almost 90% of new infrastructure capacity funding, leaving very little for increasing sustainable transport alternatives.

There is $1.3B in Public Transport funding proposed in the draft strategy. However, that amount includes operating subsidies and deferred maintenance, such as train upgrades and long overdue replacement trains. Therefore, there is very little left for improvement to the overall public transport service quality.

In contrast, of the $2.7B proposed for roading, $1.7B is for new roads. These will directly contribute to continued growth in climate-damaging CO2 emissions.

"Just as we are being flooded with new reports detailing the need to act immediately to prevent further Climate Change, this draft strategy proposes to spend the majority of new capacity investment on projects that will increase our regional greenhouse gas emissions from transport," said Ben Wilde, Option 3 spokesperson.

The groups believe that specific options are available to reverse the historic underinvestment in sustainable transport in the region and that Greater Wellington needs to make these more of a priority. Examples include fast-tracking already proposed improvements in rail and bus services; double tracking the rail line past Pukerua Bay; funding for workplace transport plans; development of walking maps; provision of secure public cycle parking; and completion of the cycle way between Wellington and the Hutt.

The groups are calling on individuals in the Wellington Region to make their concerns known to the Regional Council as part of the consultation process (details on how at http://www.option3.org.nz), and for Greater Wellington to make sustainable transport a priority for transport planning.

ENDS

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