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Stop playing politics with transport policy

Stop playing politics with transport policy

The Labour Party should be prepared to subject its proposals to take funds provided by road users and to use them to pay for public transport and to subsidise rail and coastal shipping to the same cost/benefit analysis currently applied to roading projects, says the Road Transport Forum Chief Executive Officer Ken Shirley.

“Auckland’s inner city rail loop for example has a much lower cost benefit ratio than the major roading projects now under way. The Gisborne-Napier railway carried about a train a week before it was mothballed which shows how senseless wasting tens of millions of dollars trying to resurrect it would be.

“Labour should also be asking the people of Northland, who desperately need improved transport links with the rest of New Zealand, what they think of having the money set aside to build the essential Puhoi-Wellsford link taken for commuter rail for Auckland.”

Over 90% of New Zealand’s freight goes by road and it is by far the most commonly used form of commuter traffic, but the country has been massively underinvesting in its roading network for decades, Mr Shirley says. “All we are doing is playing catch up to provide the roading infrastructure we should already have. It’s vital for our economic recovery and future growth to have an efficient road freight network.”

“It took years to get road-user provided funding protected from spending based on ideological whims. The primary purpose of the revenue raised from road users should be to fund maintenance and improvement of the roads they drive on. It’s the same principle as ACC levies. If Labour wants to spend billions on its pet projects then it should fund its projects out of general tax revenue and not rob road users.”

ends

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