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Changes needed to deliver transport strategy

13 December 2005

Funding changes needed to deliver transport strategy

The strategy guiding Auckland's transport for the next decade was launched today.

The Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy outlines investment priorities and planning needed over the next 10 years to deal with additional demands placed on the transport system by more people and business.

Between now and 2016 a total of $11 billion is available for Auckland transport systems: the strategy provides for a $6.81 billion investment in roading, $3.8 billion on public transport systems and $420 million on travel demand management.

Regional Land Transport Committee Chairman Joel Cayford says the Regional Land Transport Strategy strikes the right balance and should deliver a transport system the region wants.

"There is consensus from the region on the direction of the RLTS. It is their strategy and they have called for this balance between public transport and roading.

"But I do have to issue a note of caution. At present there's a significant funding mismatch that won't allow us to achieve the recommended investment in public transport unless there is a change to funding policies.

"The ARC will be working with the Government to give urgent attention to this mismatch.

"It's essential we put in place a transport system that will allow Aucklanders and visitors to move around with ease. The Rugby World Cup provides a focus for everybody involved to work towards," Mr Cayford says.

Now the RLTS has been launched it is the responsibility of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Authority (ARTA), Transit NZ and local councils to deliver it.

ARTA Chair Brian Roche says the ARC's Regional Land Transport Strategy is strongly supported by ARTA.

"The strategy supports a High Passenger Transport investment option. Currently Aucklanders are too dependent on cars to get to work, school or university, which impacts on our region's liveability, health and economic well-being. The RLTS is strongly focused on reducing single driver car trips and encouraging more people to catch public transport, walk, cycle and carpool.

"Our current public transport patronage levels sit at 51 million per annum. This is expected to increase to over 100 million by 2016. This amount of growth will require major capital investment and increased services for all three public transport modes- train, bus and ferry.

"While ARTA has plans to achieve this level of growth, funding is a major consideration particularly as we need to have excellent public transport services in place for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. We will be working closely with the ARC and central Government to identify ways and means of bridging the funding gap.

"ARTA has a huge programme of work ahead of it to create the land transport infrastructure and services required to make Auckland a truly international city proud to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The appropriate level of funding is a priority to realise this," Mr Roche says.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

* The RLTC decided the 'High Passenger Transport' option was its preferred strategy for guiding transport investment. The strategy also provides for development of travel demand management initiatives and a substantial investment in new roads

* It will see a total of $11 billion spent on the transport system: $6.81 billion on roads, $3.8 billion on public transport and $420 million on travel demand management

* Approximately 340,000 more people - the population of Christchurch city - are expected to live in the Auckland region by 2016. If car ownership remains as high as now, there will be 195,000 more cars and traffic could increase by nearly 25 per cent

* The RLTS looks at all the issues surrounding transport including access to services, good urban design and integration of town centres with transport services

* The Regional Land Transport Committee prepared the RLTS. It is made up of 22 members, including representatives from the ARC, all local councils in the region, Land Transport NZ, and representatives for the following interest areas: economic development, access and mobility, public health, environmental sustainability, safety and personal security, and cultural interests. The committee also has observers representing ARTA , Transit and Ontrack.

ARTA's plans to implement the RLTS:

* Implement a Rapid Transit Network with fast and high frequency services each with their own right of way. An example of this is the Northern Busway, which will open in 2008

* A major upgrade of Auckland's rail system to increase the frequency, reliability and quality of rail services. For example, double tracking the western line

* Creating integrating ticketing so people can move easily between different modes of public transport

* More focus on Travel Demand Management measures. For example working on travel plans with schools, large businesses and educational institutions.

Expected results by 2016:

* Substantial progress in the planning and completion of key links in the strategic road network

* Increased provision of public transport, with improvements to bus and ferry services in addition to continued upgrading of rail

* People will have a greater choice of travel modes and it will be easier to change between them with the introduction of integrated ticketing

* Continued development of travel demand management, including measures such as walking school buses, business travel plans and support for walking and cycling

* By 2016 at least a 20 per cent reduction in emissions to air which are harmful to health

* Forty nine per cent of motorised trips into the CBD by public transport, compared to 32 per cent now

* Opportunities for people with disabilities to access the transport system will be significantly improved.

ENDS

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