The Green Party would look at extending the electric rail line and commuter trains north of Waikanae to improve access to Wellington and relieve congestion around Ōtaki and Levin, instead of building more monster motorways.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges mooted the idea yesterday of extending the already $2 billion Wellington Northern Corridor motorway north of Otaki – an area which already suffers from severe car and truck congestion.
“We need to look at all the options to relieve congestion in the Wellington region, not just tacking more lanes onto motorways. Extending the modern commuter trains north to Ōtaki, Levin or even Palmerston North from Wellington could be a much more efficient way to get people in and out of the city,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“We know people are already driving down from Ōtaki and Levin to jump on the train in Waikanae to get to Wellington so there’s clearly demand for an alternative to driving.
“An electric train would also be faster, smoother and more comfortable than the existing diesel Capital Connection that only runs during peak times.
“Catching the train is going to be attractive for anyone wanting to avoid the hassle and expense of parking in Wellington, and anyone who’d rather read or work on the train than stare at traffic as they drive to work.
“Electrifying the line would also be an important investment in rail freight. Currently the faster, cleaner electric trains have to stop in Palmerston North and switch to diesel before coming to Wellington.
“We need to think of downstream effects of building ever wider motorways that will mean thousands more cars entering Wellington, adding to congestion and parking challenges there. Trains don’t come with that problem," said Ms Genter.