New research from the NZTA shows that the Government needs to rethink its transport spending priorities, the Green Party said today.
“It’s crystal clear that people want fast, affordable, and efficient public transport, but the Government continues to pour billions into a few expensive highways instead,” Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.
The NZTA’s Public Transport and the Next Generation report shows that transport patterns and choices are fundamentally changing: young people already use public transport more than older generations and they want to continue using public transport as they grow older.
“National is out of touch and stuck in the past. Now is the time to invest in the transport choices people will need in the future, not waste billions on a few motorways that won't help most people get to work and school or get heavy trucks off the roads,” said Ms Genter.
“The Government often claims that it’s investing in public transport but in fact it’s just treading water.
“The Auckland rail network hasn’t received any new Government funding under National, yet rail patronage is increasing by around 20 percent every year. Projects like rail electrification were locked in already when National came to power in 2008.
“The NZTA study shows that there’s high latent demand for active transport modes, meaning that people are crying out for safe cycling infrastructure.
“The Green Party is calling for a step change in transport funding, with immediate priority given to public transport improvements and safe cycling infrastructure, because these types of projects have the highest demand and the best returns.
“The first thing the Government should be doing is immediately funding Auckland’s City Rail Link so it can open in 2021, when it will be desperately needed.
“Investing in cleaner transport options is a vital part of New Zealand doing its bit to prevent climate change, because transport accounts for almost 20 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions.
“Transport is an area where New Zealanders are already trying to change their behaviour to help save the climate, but their choices aren’t being supported by the Government’s backward-looking infrastructure funding decisions,” Ms Genter said.