Speed given to city’s trans­port projects

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

In­vest­ment in One­hunga’s trans­port con­nec­tions is be­ing kick-started by coun­cil, but not ev­ery­one is happy.

The in­terim trans­port levy will help fund work re­lated to the East West Con­nec­tions project, as well as other high pri­or­ity Auck­land projects over the next three years.

On May 21 Auck­land Coun­cil’s Fi­nance and Per­for­mance Com­mit­tee agreed to fund $308 mil­lion of the ad­di­tional $523m cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture, with the rest com­ing from the Gov­ern­ment.

Youth-led or­gan­i­sa­tion Gen­er­a­tion Zero is sup­port­ive of the pro­gramme over­all.

‘‘It pri­ori­tises the es­sen­tial public trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling projects that Auck­lan­ders have called for and is an­other step in the right di­rec­tion for our city,’’ spokesman Sud­hvir Singh says.

But al­lo­cat­ing fund­ing to the East West Con­nec­tion is the wrong move, he says.

‘‘We are yet to see a cost­ben­e­fit anal­y­sis that jus­ti­fies an­other large scale mo­tor­way project sev­er­ing Auck­land.’’

Na­tional Road Car­ri­ers chief ex­ec­u­tive David Aitken dis­agrees, say­ing the project has been on the cards since the 1960s.

The joint NZ Trans­port Agency and Auck­land Trans­port project aims to im­prove com­muter and freight links as well as public trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling op­tions over the next 30 years.

The Ac­cel­er­ated Trans­port Pro­gramme in­cludes a bud­get of $1.5m per an­num for the East West Con­nec­tions project.

This al­lows for in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­sign work to take place as well as the po­ten­tial to in­clude some small works un­til 2019.

Con­struc­tion is sched­uled for the 2021 to 2024 pe­riod but work needs to sooner, Aitken says.

‘‘It is one of the top pri­or­ity projects in Auck­land.

‘‘We were ex­pect­ing it to have been fin­ished by 2021.

‘‘They just need to get on with it. We want com­plete con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween State High­way 1 and State High­way 20.’’

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Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki Lo­cal Board chair­man Simon Randall is ex­cited that progress is be­ing made.

‘‘Get­ting the route im­ple­mented will not only help our re­ally im­por­tant freight dis­tri­bu­tion and the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in One­hunga, but also will re­lieve some of the heavy con­ges­tion on our res­i­den­tial streets from Church St up to Camp­bell Rd.’’

Cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture will also re­ceive a boost, with an ex­tra 52 kilo­me­tres of the Auck­land Cy­cle Net­work be­ing cre­ated.

This is wel­comed news for Cy­cle Ac­tion chair­woman Bar­bara Cuth­bert.

It means work can con­tinue on the Nel­son St cy­cle­way and then work around con­nect­ing up the north­west­ern cy­cle­way, she says.

‘‘Then we can start plan­ning the North Shore SeaPath to connect to the SkyPath un­der the har­bour bridge and the cy­cle­ways up and down the north­ern and south­ern mo­tor­ways.’’

The $3m which will go to­wards lo­cal board walk­ing and cy­cling ini­tia­tives is also im­por­tant, Cuth­bert says.

‘‘It’s the smart link­ing across the city which will en­able lo­cal peo­ple to get on to the big flashy projects.’’

The East West Con­nec­tions project will re­ceive $1.5 mil­lion per an­num as part of the Ac­cel­er­ated Trans­port Pro­gramme.

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