The Green Party is celebrating a major victory today following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the National Government will no longer stand in the way of the City Rail Link (CRL), the Green Party said.
The Prime Minister, in his speech to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce today, backtracked on the National Government's long held position of a 2020 start date for the CRL. The Government is committing to work with Auckland Council to bring forward a business plan, formalise Government funding from 2020, and this will allow Auckland Council to begin major works on the CRL in 2018.
“We’ve been calling on the National Government to get going on the CRL for six years now. Today’s announcement removes the last remaining obstacle, the National Government, in the way of Auckland's most critical piece of transport infrastructure,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“The CRL should mark a shift in Auckland from the 1950s model of only building motorways and roads, towards investment in clean, reliable and modern public transport, so we can finally have a balanced transport system.
The Prime Minister used his speech to announce that his Government will streamline the consenting process for the East-West Connection between the Southern and South-Western motorways, which is estimated to cost over $1 billion. The Prime Minister also highlighted the $4.5 billion it has spent since 2008 on its so-called Roads of National Significance.
“Unfortunately, the Government’s other transport projects show they still don't understand how to create a balanced transport system.
“The National Government continues to spend billions on a few gold-plated motorways. It should be aiming to complete Auckland’s rapid transit network first, which would leverage off the CRL and complement the road network.
“The National Government's announcements demonstrate they’ve already forgotten about the agreement they signed in Paris to protect the climate. All infrastructure investment from this point on needs to support reducing climate pollution. This mean means we need investment in better public transport, and rail freight, not more expensive lanes of motorway," Ms Genter said.