Auckland public transport campaigners the Campaign for Better Transport will today urge the Government to stop delaying much needed public transport improvements in the Auckland region when it meets Minister of Transport Steven Joyce today.
“Electrification of rail is critical for Auckland’s future transport needs, but the Government has yet to come up with an alternative funding plan to replace the regional fuel tax which was axed months ago now,” says Cameron Pitches, Convenor of the Campaign for Better Transport.
“For once, the entire Auckland region was united – we had a tender process well under way for both electric trains and integrated ticketing, and funding was assured. But this has now been replaced by Government dithering and delay.”
The Campaign for Better Transport will use the meeting to seek assurances that a number of public transport projects, including railway station upgrades and new ferry terminals, as well as rail electrification and integrated ticketing, will be able to go ahead as originally planned by the Auckland Regional Transport Authority.
“Investing in public transport is the only practical investment in the face of rising petrol and fuel prices,” says Mr Pitches.
The Campaign for Better Transport will also be highlighting Treasury’s poor record at forecasting future oil and petrol prices to the Minister. The most recent Treasury forecast issued on the 28th May states that “it is assumed that the price of oil will gradually increase over time, reaching US$60/barrel by the end of 2010 and around US$68/barrel by the end of the forecast period .”
“I’ve got news for Treasury,” says Mr. Pitches. “Oil is about $68 a barrel right now.”
“The record petrol prices we experienced last year should have been a wake-up call. Instead all levels of Government have hit the snooze button, rolled over and gone back to sleep,” concludes Mr Pitches.
Postcards for the Campaign for Better Transport’s “Action Stations” campaign can also be downloaded from the bettertransport.org.nz website.
The full agenda for today’s meeting is available here.