INDEPENDENT NEWS

Green rail plan good news for Auckland

Published: Tue 27 Mar 2001 01:21 PM
27 March 2001
Green rail plan good news for Auckland
Auckland Green MP Keith Locke says his party's national 'Get Back On Track' proposal will help Auckland.
"Auckland local bodies need to control the local track network in order to properly develop passenger services," said Mr Locke, the party's associate transport spokesperson.
"Our plan would allow them to do this. The only difference is that under our proposal the track will be co-owned by the government and local bodies. Clearly, Auckland councils would have management rights under this arrangement. In that respect it would be the same as the proposal regional deal with Tranz Rail.
"However, a $112 million payment to Tranz Rail would not be required. Infrastructure Auckland would then have more money to put into rolling stock, double-tracking the western suburban line and other rail improvements.
"Coordination with rail to the north and south of Auckland will be much better if the national rail network is intact under public ownership," he said.
"The Auckland Regional Council and the territorial authorities deserve credit for the work they've done towards getting Auckland rail back into public hands.
"Our proposal builds on the work they've done, but it would cost less and allow for better national coordination," said Mr Locke.
He said the Green proposal for regular Transfund money to be used to maintain and develop rail would also greatly help Auckland.
"We hope the government will see the wisdom of what we are proposing. We appreciate that Helen Clark is offering to help negotiate down the $112 million demanded by Tranzrail, but this is not enough.
"A publicly controlled national track network is an essential foundation for the development of Auckland rail," said Mr Locke.
ENDS

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