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CBD Rail loop or 23 motorway lanes?

CBD Rail loop or 23 motorway lanes?

The Business Case for the Auckland CBD Rail Link shows that the project should be the transport priority to relieve congestion in Auckland and stimulate economic development, said the Green Party today.

The report released today states that there are significant transport and economic development benefits from tripling the capacity of the Auckland commuter rail network with a tunnel through the CBD and three new stations.

“We welcome this report and urge the Government to fast-track the CBD Rail Loop,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“The Government has two options. They can continue to do things as we always have, spending billions on expanding motorway capacity with Puhoi to Wellsford and the Waikato Expressway.

“We know this will increase urban sprawl and the number of cars travelling into and around the Auckland CBD, increasing congestion, pollution, and the land needed for parking,” said Dr Norman.

“Or for the price of one 4 lane motorway, we could have the CBD rail loop, which will reduce congestion by moving more people into and through the city at peak hour, and attract business and residents to the heart of the city.”

Dr Norman said that the report showed that the rail loop would enable the network to carry up to 46,000 passengers per hour, which is the equivalent of 23 motorway lanes. It would also avoid the need for tens of thousands of expensive car parks, which are not included in the business cases of motorway projects.

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“The Government claims that their priority for the transport network is to reduce congestion and increase economic productivity, yet they’re prepared to spend $1 billion to shave 5 to 7 minutes off the journey from Warkworth to Auckland. It’s hard to see how 5 minutes will be translated into huge productivity gains, or how it could reduce congestion downstream in the CBD if more people are travelling in by car.

“The CBD rail loop has been shown to be a far more effective tool for reducing congestion and transforming our economic productivity. It should be the priority,” said Dr Norman.

“Transport Minister Steven Joyce has said he will make decisions based on facts and numbers. Now that we have them, will he act and make transport decisions that are in the best interest of the country?”

ENDS

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