ARC: Where’s the Money For Electric Trains?

Responding to the announcement that the petrol excise tax will increase by 3c in October, ARC Chair asks the obvious question in this media release:

Auckland has renewed its calls for Government action on funding for electric trains before fuel taxes rise on 1 October.

“When the Government cancelled regional fuel tax funding for electric trains six months ago, the Transport Minister promised to fill the gap,” said ARC Chairman Mike Lee.

“He was going to have a plan by July, when he was to report back to cabinet. We heard nothing then. We in Auckland are running out of patience.

“As of this week, Auckland has lost half a year in its electrification programme. People in Auckland will soon be paying higher fuel taxes and road user charges, and still there is no sign of electric trains.

“There has been a lot of talk about electric trains by the Transport Minister but no hard cash. If Auckland is to develop a world-class public transport system, we need those electric trains and we need to move now.

“The Transport Minister has been active about building new roads and state highways. We would like him to also focus on just how important rapid transit is to Auckland, for the city’s economic growth, productivity and urban development.

“We call on the Transport Minister to honour his commitment to make up the funding shortfall the Government created when it did away with the Auckland regional fuel tax in March.

“We are aware that public transport use in Auckland is increasing by significantly more than it is in either Wellington or Christchurch. That momentum cannot be sustained without electric trains.”

Aucklanders took 58.6 million trips on public transport in the year to 30 June, a 7.7 per cent increase on 2007/08.

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