Fresh call for rail ser­vice

Hamilton Metro News - - Front Page - Jesse King Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent

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

Photo / file

A com­muter rail link to Auck­land should be high on the agenda of a fu­ture government, says Hamil­ton deputy mayor Martin Gal­lagher.

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