INDEPENDENT NEWS

Build a Free and Complete SH1 Tunnel

Published: Tue 13 Feb 2007 02:47 PM
13 February 2007
Build a Free and Complete SH1 Tunnel under Victoria Park
"The current Mayor of Auckland City, Dick Hubbard, and his motives for 'fighting' for a Victoria Park cannot be taken at face value," says Elaine West, past Chair of Auckland City Residents & Ratepayers.
"In fact, the Mayor's claim that he convinced Transit to dig a tunnel 'after winning the mayoralty late in 2004 can be hotly disputed,'" she says.
"Transit agreed to the construction of a complete two-way tunnel on the 12 June 2003 at a public meeting held at Ponsonby Intermediate School, convened by Auckland City Residents & Ratepayers (ACR)."
"The 12 June 2003 public meeting in Ponsonby was attended by the following presenters:
Transit NZ Project Manager, (Richard Hancy); Transit NZ Harbour Bridge to City Project Manager (Jeremy Hosking), BECA consultants (Catherine Richards); Transfund Regional Manager (Dave MacDonald), Auckland City Council, Director of Strategic Development (Grant Taylor) and Group Manager for Transport Planning Group (Janine Bell); Auckland Regional Council, Chair, Strategic Policy (Ian Bradley), Ngati Paoa Whanau Trust (invited but did not attend); and Auckland City Residents & Ratepayers (Chair, Elaine West)."
"It was at the June 2003 public meeting that Transit NZ agreed to construct a complete SH1 motorway tunnel if funding was available, with the existing overhead motorway to be used as a temporary road which would be demolished once the two-way tunnel was complete."
"Therefore, we must ask - * Why does the Ministerial Advisory Group - including Jo Brosnahan former CEO of the Auckland Regional Council which supported the tunnel option - say that the cost of $320m for the tunnel option is unjustified? * Why the turn-around by Transit NZ in advocating a one-way tunnel while indefinitely retaining the existing overhead highway? * Why should we accept that the Mayor's enthusiastic 'new' fight for a complete motorway tunnel is without hooks? * And why is there no mention of the likely impact of a fully utilised public transport system - buses, trains, cycles - on Auckland's roadways including SH1, Victoria Park?
"Ten Factors to Consider.
1. Dick Hubbard says that he convinced Transit NZ to build a Victoria Park motorway tunnel in December 2004. As explained, the Mayor's self-promotion on the topic is disputable.
2. The Land Transport Management Act 2003 allows private investment and tolls on new roads.
3. The Orewa-Puhoi motorway extension (SH1) was originally planned as a free and open road. After gauging public opinion - that a Northern motorway extension had become an absolute necessity - did officials drop the road from being top priority to having no priority. Then, officials told the affected community that the motorway extension would be built within a shorter time frame, if it was a toll road.
4. The current Mayor of Auckland City has been a strong advocate for tolls on Auckland's roads.
5. The Auckland public may be told in the near future - by the Mayor of Auckland City, the Government, and Government agencies including Land Transport NZ and Transit NZ - that a complete two-way SH1 tunnel under Victoria Park is only available if it built as a tolled road.
If this is so, then a push to toll the Victoria Park tunnel could be seen as an approach that intends to break-down public resistance to tolling roads across Auckland.
6. Official acceptance of a SH1 tunnel extension under Victoria Park was based on the strategic asset principle viz: that strategic assets are to be considered as being exceptional assets having exceptional value, and therefore, are deserving of full public support and protection. Victoria Park is a strategic asset.
7. A complete two-way motorway extension under Victoria Park as agreed by Transit NZ in June 2003 should not be turned-around.
8. An extended SH1 road under Victoria Park, and other new or existing roads, should not operate as toll roads. Costs for strategic roads and public transportation systems have been paid by the taxpayer.
9. An available quality public transportation that is fully utilised is the most effective and desirable way to resolve Auckland's traffic chaos and congestion spots, including SH1, Victoria Park.
10. An available quality public transportation system that is fully utilised will have an immediate and beneficial impact on climate change, and as such, is a critical factor with regard to Auckland's sustainability and well-being.
ENDS

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