Fresh call for rail service
Hamilton deputy mayor Martin Gallagher has suggested a change of leadership in the country might help the city with a commuter rail link to Auckland.
Discussions have been on-going about whether the link is viable, but Mr Gallagher says it’s not amatter of if it will be put in place, but when it will be started.
“If in fact we did have a change of government, with great delight, I’ll be wanting to see where the money is,” he said.
“Talk is cheap, money buys the beers, as they say.”
Mr Gallagher said it would be a significant central government contribution to Waikato transport infrastructure and suggested a petrol tax may be a possible source of funding.
“This is not just a ratepayer pocket issue. This is amuch broader issue in terms of funding and then we’ve got to look at a longterm commitment to a commuter service because it will take time to really generate.”
He likened the idea of a rail link to those used in Brisbane and Melbourne.
“Anyone with a half a brain would know that if you have a city 100km away, [with] two millionplus and a greater Hamilton of 200,000-plus, go figure.”
Mr Gallagher praised MP Sue Moroney for pushing the commuter rail project and showing vision in the area.
Ms Moroney had put together a group of people who would work with the Hamilton City Council and others to discuss how things should work.
“We’ve got to make sure that the land footprint is here. So we’ve got to make sure that KiwiRail does not sell off the land around the Frankton railway station,” Mr Gallagher said. He also highlighted the importance of having a train stop at The Base and said plans for this had started.
However, he suggested that things weren’t moving ahead quick enough.
“My anxiety is that we can talk and talk and talk, but suddenly the opportunities are gone for a proper station platform,” he said.
Talk is cheap, money buys the beers, as they say. Martin Gallagher
A commuter rail link to Auckland should be high on the agenda of a future government, says Hamilton deputy mayor Martin Gallagher.