Central Govt to blame for Auckland rail delay

The National Government is delaying Auckland’s rail development, while pushing ahead with the expensive Puhoi to Wellsford motorway, a motorway with declining traffic volumes, benefiting fewer people and business, said the Green Party today.

Yesterday, Mayor Len Brown proposed to push back the start date of the City Rail Link due to a lack of funding certainty. The National Government has said it will not commit funding before 2020, despite huge growth on the rail network.

“The Government has got its priorities backwards. It’s funding expensive, low value roads, while forcing Auckland to delay the much needed City Rail Link,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“The latest statistics from the New Zealand Transport Agency show traffic volumes are not only flat on that route, but declining. In contrast, rail patronage has grown by 20 percent in the past year.
“In the past year, nearly twice as many people used Auckland’s rail network as used the state highway between Puhoi and Wellsford.

“The National Government must take the blame for any delay to rail development in Auckland. They are choosing to push ahead with motorway extension projects that will do nothing to help most Aucklanders get to school and work or reduce congestion.

“It would be much smarter to accelerate the City Rail Link and defer the motorway extension, given the fact that rail is growing much faster, will have greater economic benefits, and will also protect the climate,” said Ms Genter.