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Labour’s legacy – traffic jams and more pollution

Labour’s legacy – traffic jams and more pollution

Green Media Release 20-2-07

The appalling congestion that is currently enveloping Wellington roads shows the combined effects of systematically underinvesting in public transport and obsessively building roads that make the problem worse, like the Wellington Inner City Bypass.

“The congestion on Wellington roads shows what happens when central government hands out money hand over fist for roads but makes local authorities carry much of the cost of funding public transport,” says Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader.

“The Inner City Bypass is a flawed design and the way it is being "phased in" is making the congestion worse, for motorists and public transport users! Combined with the lack of bus drivers, due to historic underfunding of public transport and drivers' wages, we are now in a mess.

“As a regular public transport user in Wellington, I am furious that the government is underfunding and undermining public transport while throwing billions of dollars at roads around the country.

“My only consolation is that hopefully Michael Cullen is getting caught in a traffic jam somewhere between the airport and the Beehive. Michael Cullen is embarking on the biggest road building spend by any government ever, and we can now all see the impact – traffic jams," says Dr. Norman.

"The Wellington Regional Land Transport Strategy will compound these problems as nearly 90% of new capacity funding is being put into roads," says Iona Pannett Wellington City Greens Spokesperson.

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“The truth is that the lasting solution to traffic jams is not to keep building more roads, it’s to create real choice through major investment in public transport, and making walking and cycling much easier and safer," says Dr. Norman.

“In 2005 the Greens put forward our plan, Ride the Wind, to build a great public transport system in Wellington powered by wind power. The tragedy is that Labour’s obsession with roads ahead of public transport means that that plan is still on the shelf, and pedestrians and cyclists still get short shrift.

“We must learn from flawed and oversold projects like the Inner City Bypass and invest in sustainable public transport."


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