Tuesday, 7th September, 2021
The Auckland Business Forum says there is little cause to celebrate the Government’s latest transport programme, given the worrying outlook for Auckland congestion that sits behind it.
The Government today released the 2021-2024 National Land Transport Programme, which allocates a record $7.3 billion towards transport projects in Auckland.
However, Auckland Business Forum Coordinator Barney Irvine says that the investment will do nothing to improve Auckland’s congestion – indeed, congestion is forecast to get significantly worse in the years ahead, according to the Auckland Transport (AT) figures the programme is based on.
“Congestion is the key transport issue for Auckland households and businesses – ultimately, that’s where the success of the transport programme needs to be measured.
“Increased congestion is bad for productivity, liveability, and emissions. A situation where we’re taking a big step backwards is simply not good enough.”
If Auckland is to have any hope of putting a dent in congestion, Mr Irvine says the Government and AT need to invest far more to get general traffic and freight moving, alongside the increased spending on public transport, walking and cycling.
That means new road projects to support growth areas in the outer parts of the city, targeted widening of the motorway, and lots of smaller-scale projects to get better performance out of existing roads – peak-period clearways, dynamic lanes (where the median barrier is shifted at peak times), and smart traffic lights.
It also means much faster progress on big strategic projects like the next Waitemata Harbour crossing.
“Cities in Australia and around the world are investing more than ever in public transport, but they’re also investing massively in the new roads needed to support population growth.
“Our leaders need to realise that it’s not a case of doing one or the other – you need to do both.”
Meanwhile, the Business Forum is hopeful the Plan will include extra funding to bring forward the congestion pricing discussion in Auckland.
“This could well be a game-changer, and the beauty of it is that it can be put in place relatively quickly and affordably,” says Mr Irvine. “The time to move on it is now – not in two or three years.”
About the Auckland Business Forum:
The Auckland Business Forum is a group of Auckland-based business organisations formed to advocate for greater urgency around the planning and delivery of the Auckland transport programme. The group was formed out of concern for a long-running decline in the standard of Auckland’s transport infrastructure, and the subsequent impact on productivity and quality of life. The Auckland Business Forum’s membership incorporates broad-based user and industry perspectives on transport issues, and consists of:
- Auckland Business Chamber
- Civil Contractors New Zealand
- Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern)
- National Road Carriers Association
- The NZ Automobile Association (Auckland District Council)
- Ports of Auckland Ltd
- Vector Ltd
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