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Aucklanders Need Better Transport Options

Denis O’Rourke MP
Spokesperson for Transport
7 NOVEMBER 2014

Statement on Auckland transport options

Aucklanders Need Better Transport Options

If Aucklanders are to be asked to meet the large projected increases in transport project costs, they should be getting much better transport options than bigger and even more congested motorways can alone provide, says New Zealand First Transport spokesperson Denis O’Rourke.

Funding methods need to ensure that the biggest users pay the biggest share, he says.

“It is neither appropriate nor fair for endless increases in property rates to be a source of increased funding for major arterial roads. People who use the motorways very little make the same contribution via property rates as people who use them a lot. Aucklanders should not tolerate the very large rates increases which would be required for the planned 30 year, $30 billion roading and public transport programme for Auckland.

“Regional fuel taxes should not be a part of the solution. They already have major problems in providing the scale of funding needed, as hybrids and fully electric cars come onto the roads in greatly increasing numbers. There is also the associated and problematic issue of what is fair as between petrol and diesel vehicles,” says O’Rourke.

“Auckland has come to the end of the road in its use of rates to fund large transport projects, and it is time to be realistic about this,” he says.

“Tolling is really the only way left, and has other significant advantages. With the use of electronic vehicle tags, collection costs can be reduced. It would also allow for greater price differentiation as to time, vehicle type, and road function, so that it becomes a valuable demand management tool. The use of road pricing measures for demand management is well established and highly successful in many overseas cities such as London and Sydney.

“But Aucklanders should only accept increased charges and tolling if they see that the funds raised are dedicated to provide better transport options, road capacity where needed, safety measures, and other transport facilities such as park and ride facilities and off-road cycleways.

“The largest future project is a new harbour crossing $4.5 billion. The proposal is for a road crossing, however New Zealand First would investigate the option of having a rail only option, which would be much less expensive. Road traffic pressure on the Auckland Harbour Bridge would be likely reduce very significantly with a rail line serving the North Shore; and the Northern busway would then be converted into a railway in conjunction with the rail tunnel under the harbour,” Mr O’Rourke says.

“In New Zealand’s three largest cities, as in many other parts of the world, there are very significant transport efficiency benefits, and social environmental and economic benefits, with installing light rail / modern trams on routes with high user potential. Trams can carry many more people than buses, and they are cleaner, quieter, more environmentally friendly and more complementary to the urban environment than cars and buses, while freeing up more road space for cars, especially at peak times. Powered by electricity, this form of transport is also more sustainable, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering the large contribution to ‘greenhouse’ emissions which transport activities make in New Zealand.
As the cost of transport fuels continue to increase, light rail / modern trams will also become increasingly more economic.
“While investment in light rail systems over time will provide long term returns and benefits, the high initial capital cost of establishing light rail systems is usually seen as prohibitive for most councils to undertake on their own. The reintroduction of this form of commuter transport therefore needs to be considered strategically on a nation-wide basis, with benefits to the country as a whole,” says Mr O’Rourke.

“New Zealand First therefore says that government assistance must be made available to jointly fund light rail projects, on a 75% (government) and 25% (council) basis, in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington initially, where the investment over time can be justified as an alternative to more arterial road capacity to avoid congestion, and to augment existing passenger rail and bus services. Similarly, the government should increase its contribution to the City Rail Link to 75% to ensure that the project proceeds quickly and without an undue burden on Auckland ratepayers. Better transport options for Aucklanders must be better funded by government as a way of ensuring that our largest city gets a 21st century transport system.”

Potential new light rail networks include:
Auckland
There are several excellent opportunities for light rail in Auckland to complement the existing and planned passenger rail network, says Mr O’Rourke. These are:
1. Viaduct Harbour line - Extension of the Dockline tramway in the Wynyard Quarter along Quay Street to the Britomart Transport Centre in
Queen Street.
2. Mount Roskill line - Line along Queen Street, Upper Queen Street, Ian McKinnon Drive and Dominion Road to the Roskill South shops on Richardson Road
3. Saint Heliers line – Line from Britomart along Quay Street and Tamaki Drive to Saint Heliers.
4. Western Springs line – Line from the Wynyard Quarter along
Halsey Street, Victoria Street West, College Hill, Ponsonby Road, Williamson Avenue and Great North Road to connect with the MOTAT tramway at Western Springs.
5. Botany line – Line from Panmure railway station along Lagoon Drive,
Pakuranga Road, Ti Rakau Drive, Te Irirangi Drive, Great South Road, Ronwood Avenue, Davies Avenue to Manukau railway station.
6. Howick line – Line from Panmure railway station along Lagoon Drive, Pakuranga Road, Ridge Road, to Howick town centre in Picton Street.


Christchurch
Christchurch is ideally suited for a radial light rail tram network, says Mr O’Rourke.
“With the city rebuild, now is an easy and ideal time to obtain designations and then to commence construction over time.
“This is in addition to new passenger rail services to the residentially exploding areas north to Rangiora, Kaiapoi and Pegasus, using the existing rail lines.”
From the new central city transport exchange, and using the existing inner city tramlines:
1. Halswell Line - Colombo Street South, Moorhouse Avenue and Lincoln Road to the intersection with Halswell Junction Road.
2. Airport and University Line - Rolleston Avenue, Oxford Terrace, Riccarton Avenue, Riccarton Road, Ilam Road and Memorial Avenue to the Airport.
3. Papanui Line - Victoria Street and Papanui Road and Main North Road to the Northlands Shopping Centre.
4. New Brighton Line - Cashel Street, Linwood Avenue, and Buckleys / Pages Road and Seaview Road to the New Brighton Library.
5. Sumner Line - Cashel Street, Linwood Avenue, Humphries Drive and Main Road to Sumner Village.
6. Cashmere Line - Colombo Street South, and Dyers Pass Road to The Sign of The Takahe.

Wellington
Wellington has the best passenger rail services in New Zealand, but these could be complemented with these two light rail / tram services to avoid the need for more very expensive and controversial road projects in the city (eg the stalled Basin Reserve Flyover), Mr O’Rourke says.
1. Ferry line – Line from the Interisland Ferry Terminal
to the Wellington CBD along Aotea Quay, Waterloo Quay, Customhouse Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street, Courtenay Place.
2. Airport line – Line from the Wellington CBD to the airport along Courtney
Place, Cambridge Terrace & Kent Terrace, Sussex Street & Dufferin
Street, Adelaide Road, Riddiford Street, Constable Street, Crawford Road, Rongotai Road, Troy Street, Cobham Drive, Calabar Road, Stewart Duff Drive.

ENDS

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