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Surface Light Rail Calls For The Government To Enable Auckland To Control Its Own Transport Priorities

Surface Light Rail is disappointed to see that the Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport for 2024-2034 does not have a replacement to the Auckland Light Rail (ALR) project. While the Government’s decision to scrap ALR is understandable, as the project ultimately lost sight of the original purpose of light rail in Auckland, mass rapid transit is still needed in Auckland.

Consistent work has shown that the City Centre does not have further capacity for buses and we need more transport choices to solve our cities congestion woes. Light rail is a key part of this, as confirmed most recently by Auckland Transport’s 2023 Auckland Rapid Transit Pathway report. When Aucklanders spend more than 78 hours sitting in traffic every year, creating congestion and wasting our lives, it is important that transport solutions are directed by those who understand our city the most. If it's in Auckland, it should be planned by Auckland, for Auckland.

Surface Light Rail urges the Government to allocate funding to a “city deal” with Auckland Council and allow them the means to decide their own transport priorities. As recently as late last year Mayor of Auckland Wayne Brown has supported the idea of surface light rail in Auckland and so we at Surface Light Rail believe that any “city deal” should include funding for the implementation of a surface light rail network throughout the city.

The Surface Light Rail Plan, adapted from the pre-2019 work of Auckland Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency, aligns with the main strategic priority of the Government’s Draft GPS on Land Transport to enable economic growth and productivity in Auckland.

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Surface Light Rail’s plan increases the reliability and capacity of public transport and roads along some of the busiest transport corridors in Auckland. Congestion costs Auckland's economy over $1billion/year, but building a surface light rail network will lead to less congestion and more transport options for Aucklanders. This will also connect underserved parts of Auckland to the economic heart of the city and allow Aucklanders to travel more easily within our city for employment and leisure. Our plan also enables development and regeneration opportunities to provide more homes and revitalise Auckland's Town Centres. All of this improves Auckland’s productivity and enables economic growth.

If Auckland is to solve our persistent transport issues, which cost us time and money, it needs to have control over its own transport priorities. Surface light rail provides the foundation for Auckland's future and gives Aucklanders the transport choices they deserve. The GPS on Land Transport should reflect this.

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