Decent rail or Loads of Roads?

Starvation rations for the rail network and supersized meals for the city’s roading network are on the menu for Aucklanders.

A strict cap imposed on Auckland’s rail electrification project is at odds with the Government’s open-ended approach to motorway funding, Green Party Auckland Transport Spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

“No Crystal Ball is needed to gauge tomorrow’s predictable land transport announcements. I’m sure we can expect more of the same, Loads of Roads.”

“Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s reply to my questions in the House yesterday leave no doubt that an uneven playing field heavily weighted towards private car travel is being imposed on Auckland.

“Mr Joyce insists that electrifying the network and buying electric rail cars must fall within his $1 billion allocation – even if this means not electrifying the entire rail network or buying less than the 140 electric railcars planned.

“This could mean for example that the Onehunga branch line is not electrified because the spending cap would be exceeded.

“The Greens are also concerned about rumours that a fall-back position may be to use older electric locomotives for some services.

“We don’t want a second-rate electrification that is more prone to breakdowns and unreliable service.

“We need a modern, world-class standard system,” Mr Locke said.

“Mr Joyce’s Brave New World looks more like Back to the Future. New motorways for private motorists while public transport commuters get a second rate service.”