Auckland transport on the right track

The Government’s new, Green-tinged transport strategy will help get Auckland moving, Green Party Auckland Transport spokesperson, Keith Locke said today.

“The Greens have lobbied hard to get the $69 million allocated for passenger transport, walking and cycling,” said Mr Locke.

“But much more than that $69 million will be available to roading alternatives. Transfund, with its billion dollar budget, now has to be balanced in its land transport spending. It now has to consider health, community and environmental benefits, not just how many cars can get down a road. This will make it much easier to get money for projects like the North Shore Busway and rapid rail services.

“We really need money to spend on public transport infrastructure, particularly now the Auckland rail network is coming back into public ownership.

“For decades Auckland has crippled itself by investing in motorways at the expense of public transport. The result is traffic gridlock and a city in which 40 percent of urban land is devoted to cars.

“Solving congestion means getting people out of cars, onto all other forms of transport. The extra money negotiated for alternatives will give impetus to plans for new cycleways and safe walkways for Auckland.

“In endorsing this package the Greens are not saying ‘yes’ to new motorways,” Mr Locke pointed out. “Any new project will need to meet the new criteria laid down, such as showing a high degree of support from affected communities and not inducing more traffic. Projects like the extension of State Highway 20 from Hillsborough to Avondale will find it hard to meet this test.

“The Greens will continue to argue that the first priority is public transport – this is Auckland’s urgent need, not new urban motorways. Making it easier to leave the car behind will mean a healthier environment, healthier people and a healthier economy.

“A really efficient rail network with frequent bus connections is what’s needed to get Auckland moving.

“We are decades behind in getting our public transport system up to scratch. If we can achieve that, we’re confident Aucklanders will see there is no need for new motorways.”