Too little too late for funding switch from rail to road

Published: Thu 19 Sep 2019 02:50 PM
19 September 2019
News that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is considering redirecting $313 million from light rail to state highways because of the Government’s bungled delivery of the Auckland light rail project, is positive, but needs to go further and faster, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has received five papers since February about reallocating money from light rail to highways and admitted in Parliament on Tuesday the NZTA is looking at $313 million being reallocated. This can’t happen quickly enough given the infrastructure crisis created by the Government’s inept handling of the transport portfolio and broken promises around light rail.
“While Kiwis have been paying more at the pump through increased fuel taxes, critical roading projects around the country have been delayed or cancelled. Some of them were already ready to go when National left government in 2017.
“Instead, the money has been piling up for light rail to Mt Roskill which was meant to be complete by 2021 but which Cabinet will not even start making decisions on until 2020.
“The Prime Minister’s so-called ‘Year of Delivery’ has been a joke when it comes to transport. Not a single major project has started under this government and the Prime Minister’s own hand-picked Business Advisory Council says we are facing an ‘infrastructure crisis.’
“Infrastructure companies are warning we are on the edge of a construction cliff.
“Is a transport ‘reset’ coming, a la KiwiBuild?
“Mr Twyford has made a hash of this portfolio, just as he did with Housing. He has an ideological aversion to building new roads and is incapable of delivering on his and the Prime Minister’s promises on light rail.”

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