The Employers and Manufacturers Association congratulates the seven Auckland city councils and the regional council on completing their major growth and transport planning studies, and advises an urgent plan of action is required.
“The planning documents are excellent,” said EMA’s chief executive Alasdair Thompson. “We now need to move to a rapid implementation programme, particularly to ease the huge cost of traffic congestion that Aucklanders so intensely dislike.
“To get Auckland moving again we need an economically sensible public transport system that optimises the use of existing roading corridors.
“But that approach will not work unless we close the glaring gaps in the present road network as the Auckland road network is still only 63% completed.
“The traffic crisis will continue until we complete the planned road network at the same time allowing for new lanes reserved for buses.
“The Transport Plan identified the cost of congestion at $750 million a year, a cost which is rapidly growing as Auckland’s population keeps growing by 20,000 people a year and intensifies.
“Furthermore Auckland is competing internationally with cities like Melbourne which has excellent public transport and is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in new roads and motorways.
“We should also note the unfavourable experiences that cities in the United States have had with light rail. A recent report for California’s Orange County Transportation Authority showed rail based systems:
attract few automobile drivers from their cars,
are expensive, requiring subsidies of $US5000 or more for every new user,
are inflexible, whereas bus routes can be altered several times a year if necessary,
forecasts of their use are typically wrong, with the bias in their favour,
will not spur development along their corridors; any development that takes place is driven by tax payer subsidies,
will not improve commuter travel times, pollution levels, urban problems, energy conservation or safety.
“Auckland businesses support urgent public transport development along existing and new roads and highways with lanes reserved for public buses. But the priority has to be get the roading network completed.”
Further comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (bus.)
09 303 3951 (home)
025 982 024 (mobile)