CBD rail loop needs big donor lobby group

Press Release – Green Party

The independent review of the CBD rail loop released by Auckland Council is well-informed by a number of internationally credible transport experts, but clearly the Government is only interested in transport projects supported by big donors like the Road Transport …31 May 2011

CBD rail loop needs big donor lobby group

The independent review of the CBD rail loop released by Auckland Council is well-informed by a number of internationally credible transport experts, but clearly the Government is only interested in transport projects supported by big donors like the Road Transport Forum, said the Green Party today

Today the Government and the Auckland Council simultaneously released reviews of the original business case for the most important rail project in Auckland. However, the reports had opposite conclusions.

Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and their independent advisors are strongly of the view that the business case for the CBD rail loop is robust, while the Ministry of Transport, Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency have questioned the benefits.

“It’s obvious that the Government’s bias towards new motorways and against passenger rail is at work in their review,” said Green Party Transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“Most of the Government’s new billion dollar motorways were announced before business cases were even completed, and they are continuing with the projects even though their own analysis has shown the Holiday Highway and Transmission Gully to have lower benefits than their costs.

“The CBD Rail loop has a strong business case that has been reviewed by a number of internationally respected independent experts, including the UC Berkeley Transportation Centre and Pricewaterhouse Coopers,” said Mr Hughes.

“Motorways don’t solve congestion, and they won’t reduce transport costs when oil prices are sky high.

“Aucklanders have been flocking to trains with growth well over 10% a year, and as oil prices have hit record highs, traffic volumes on state highways are down.

“We need the CBD rail loop as soon as possible, and we support the Auckland Council’s decision to go ahead with the designation.

“New Zealanders may need a well-funded lobby group to persuade the Government to make intelligent transport funding decisions, because all the independent analysis in the world isn’t likely to change Joyce’s mind,” said Mr Hughes.
ENDS

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