Roads at standstill despite spend-up

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett states that planning for Auckland’s future transport needs is inadequate and that we need a vision beyond 2015.  Graeme Hunt reports in the Herald.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett says the region is still playing catch-up when it comes to road spending and development, despite new projects being announced by the new Government…..

…..Barnett says people are starting to look at the productivity gains that could be achieved by an efficient transport network but planning for future transport needs is inadequate. “We are planning … not future-proofing. We are standing still. By 2015 when the network is complete we will have done little else but stood still.”

Michael Barnett does seem rather roading-focused though, putting the priority on completing the roading network before addressing public transport.

“With a complete roading network you have options and choices, especially for public transport.”

“At the end of the day we do need a network of roads and once we have done that we can look at better bus services and things like congestion charges.”

He [Michael Barnett] urges people to look at developments [beyond 2015] such a third harbour crossing, an east-west link and better roads to extend Auckland into Northland and Waikato.

Surely we have to stop “completing” the roading network at some stage and consider rail as an alternative!

Other business leaders also support Michael Barnett’s views

National Road Carriers executive director David Aitken welcomes the Government’s stated commitment to complete the transport network.

“We have to complete the network [but] we can’t stop. We need more roads. Any improvement in the roads we are happy with, but is it enough?”

This is reported in contrast to the direction Arta takes, in favour of public transport

It [Arta] talks of the need to implement “behaviour-change programmes” to switch people from using cars to public transport, walking or cycling. It does, however, support car-pooling.

Arta, whose future is uncertain with the reorganisation in Auckland governance, says it would like greater investment in regional arterial roads to improve connections with neighbouring regions. It would like a shift in spending from state highways to local roads, public transport, walking and cycling.

It says investment in public transport services and infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth in travel demand. “This means that for many people there is little or no choice but to use private vehicles,” it says in a paper on its proposed strategic direction.

“It also means Auckland has only recently started to develop high-capacity reliable public transport on major routes where public transport has the ability to significantly contribute to reduction in congestion and provision of more environmentally sustainable transport.”

….[Arta] is responsible for what it describes as the “integrated planning and funding of transport (excluding state highways) throughout the Auckland region” but has been overshadowed by the recent Government approval of major transport projects.

Click here for the full article in the Herald.

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