Mixed re­sponse to Mt Roskill light rail

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS AND VER­NON SMALL

The idea of trams hurtling down Do­min­ion Rd has prompted mixed re­sponses among the public. On Oc­to­ber 30 the Labour party promised to fast-track a light rail sys­tem from Wyn­yard Quar­ter through Brit­o­mart to Mt Roskill.

The 13-kilo­me­tre route is ex­pected to cost around $1.4 bil­lion with Labour leader An­drew Lit­tle say­ing the Gov­ern­ment and Auck­land Council would pay about $680m each.

It comes in the build up to the Mt Roskill by-elec­tion be­tween Na­tional and Labour on De­cem­ber 3.

LJ Hooker Mt Roskill branch man­ager Ross Harvey says it’s ‘‘child­ish’’ to think you can go into an elec­torate and at­tempt to ’’buy votes’’ on the prom­ise of putting tram tracks in the road.

‘‘Where the hell are the ratepay­ers go­ing to get 700 mil­lion?’’ Harvey says.

‘‘And when does even the Gov­ern­ment get in the po­si­tion to get an­other 700 [mil­lion], which they prob­a­bly won’t, so it’ll never get off the ground.’’

Harvey, who has worked in busi­ness in the area since 1976 says he’s watched the traf­fic grow.

But light rail isn’t the an­swer, he says.

‘‘There’s some pretty sim­ple answers ac­tu­ally to fix some of the traf­fic prob­lems, most of them have al­ready been cre­ated by council so I just think it’s ab­so­lutely ill-con­ceived non­sense,’’ Harvey says.

‘‘Auck­land used to have trams there, Auck­land used to have trol­ley buses. They’ve all gone, it didn’t work. Sort out the bus net­work.

‘‘When I read [the pro­posal] in the pa­per I couldn’t be­lieve it.’’

Neville Cranston of Do­min­ion Rd busi­ness KJ Floor­ing says the in­ter­net should be up­graded in the area be­fore light rail is put down.

But re­sponse hasn’t all been neg­a­tive. Sally Van­dal of Mt Al­bert has praised the pro­posal. ‘‘Auck­land needs public trans­port sys­tems that will take us any­where we want to go. We have a long way to go to meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards,’’ Van­dal says.

Mt Eden res­i­dent John McCarthy says it will be great to see An­drew Lit­tle team up with Phil Goff on the pro­posal. Labour says it’s keen to start work on the line as soon as pos­si­ble and would work with the council to make it a pri­or­ity within 10 years.

An artist’s vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of light rail pro­posed for Auck­land by the Labour Party.

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