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We Need The Eastern Busway We Were Promised - Damian Light

"Auckland Transport's decision to destroy more homes to build the Eastern Busway is a terrible outcome for Auckland." said Damian Light, candidate for the Auckland Council ward of Howick.

This comes after Auckland Transport Auckland Transport announced that they are proceeding with the Burswood diversion of the Eastern Busway, that will lead to the destruction of 40+ homes in the Burswood community.

"I feel for the residents of Burswood, who have been forced to fight to keep their homes. Having this bombshell dropped on them at the end of lockdown last year, they've rallied together. Unfortunately their courageous efforts have been ignored. Community feedback has been clear - we support the Busway but not taking an unnecessary diversion through people's homes."

"Public transport is my primary mode of transport and I'm keen to see the busway completed so we can recognise the benefits." Quicker connections into the city and onto the rail network will help reduce congestion and pollution in East Auckland which continues to grow. "I’ve campaigned at both a national and local level to get the Eastern Busway delivered sooner, frustrated at the constant delays and descoping." Light has been a strong advocate for the project, criticising council decisions to delay the project as recently as 2020 and 2021.

"This last minute change to the route is yet another poor decision that reduces the benefits of this significant investment." said Light. The diversion means the $1.4 Billion project will miss the East Tāmaki business district, which means it will be of little use to the 40,000+ people who work in this area. It also increases the length of the trip for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

"There are cheaper options that will deliver better long term benefits. There are alternatives that won't destroy homes and community."

Auckland Transport have admitted that reallocation of road space along Ti Rākau Drive (as per the original plan) remains the cheapest option. Auckland Transport claim that going via Burswood will enable faster construction, with less impact on existing traffic but this is the widest part of Ti Rākau Drive with six lanes, ample median strip and berms. Auckland Transport is pursuing this short sighted approach that fails to consider the long term, strategic importance of this project. The lack of transparency and accountability for this decision make it very difficult to accept that it was based on evidence.

"We need the Eastern Busway we were promised and this isn't it."

© Scoop Media

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