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Time to be realistic about Inner City Rail Link

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The AA has today urged caution when deciding how best to spend money on public transport in Auckland.

"The AA supports additional investment in Auckland public transport. However, money is short, the economy isn't great, and the ratepayers and motorists of Auckland are hurting financially. This means Auckland has to better prioritise its public transport expenditure," says AA spokesperson Simon Lambourne.

"The time has come to be realistic about what Aucklanders can and cannot afford. The best plans and visions must now be tested against economic reality."

"The AA believes buses are a very affordable public transport option, trains are not."

"It is much more affordable to expand the bus network than it is the rail network, and a focus on buses would provide a far greater number of Auckland motorists with a realistic alternative to using their cars. The reality is that proportionate to the number of people using buses, only a very small number of motorists, in very limited geographic areas, would benefit from expanding the train network, which is a very expensive alternative to the bus."

"Auckland cannot afford the cost of a $2.94 billion Inner City Rail Link at this time, let alone the millions of dollars that will be required each and every year to subsidise its passenger fares and operational costs.

"The AA supports the decision to protect land required for a future Inner City Rail Link, but we cannot support the current proposal to build the project by 2021."

"The current rush to build the Inner City Rail Link is going to drain Auckland's public transport budget, and result in underinvestment in much-needed bus, ferry, walking, and cycling projects. It is also going to result in less money for important transport safety projects, like red light cameras at our most dangerous intersections."

In a May 2011 survey of 6,030 AA Members in Auckland, 65% ranked bus services as the most important public transport mode; 65% said they would use a bus if they could not use their car; 75% wanted more or much more emphasis on buses in an amended regional transport strategy; and 30% rated current bus services as good or excellent.

In a September 2011 survey of 1,822 AA Members in Auckland, 54% supported central government being the main contributor to additional public transport funding, and 46% supported local government being the second most important contributor.

"Auckland motorists should not be viewed as the main source of funds for additional investment in public transport, especially when the main project - the Inner City Rail Link - is not a regional priority."

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