Friday, July 8, 2011

Auckland's Waterview Connection to include the bus priority denied adequate funding in Christchurch

NZ in Tranzit in Auckland and Christchurch - rage against our inept machine!

A special Board of Enquiry has given the "Waterview Connection" in Auckland the green light.

This is a motorway link connecting the southern and northwestern motorways (map here). 

The Watervew connection a 4.5 km section of motorway includes twin 2.5 km tunnels to be bored under Mount Albert. The Waterview Connection will need the purchase and in most cases demolition of an estimated 205 houses, many already purchased by the crown

The proposal also include  bus lanes and some bus priority measures in some sectors, presumably as a proportion of the total project,  costing in real terms many tens of millions.

Comment;  Last year the Minister of Transport opened the new Mangere Bridge extension in Auckland, including bus lanes calculated by NZ in Tranzit to cost $46 million.

Also back in November 2009  NZ Transport Agency cut the Government funding contribution to a modest programme of bus lanes and bus priority measures in Christchurch by almost $4 million, greatly reducing funding available for bus lanes to the extent the next planned (Riccarton) was postponed and lanes on some routes will now not be built until 2019!

At no point since a  message from former Mayor Garry Moore in 2007 ** (made just before he was appointed to Transit NZ's board) claiming Christchurch wasn't getting its fair share of transport funding, does it appear any member of the Christchurch City Council "stood up" openly to the Government.

Never has the Council had the gumption to say openly, outright and emphatically,  how absurd it is a city less than four times the size of Christchurch is getting public transport funding now over $1. 5 billion [mainly rail] while Christchurch has received only a few million in  infrastructure funding in a whole decade - government support for bus lane, cycleway and safety training in Christchurch was severely pruned in 2009!

As Canterbury is 13% of the national population it appears the good people of Christchurch, Timaru, Rangiora, Ashburton etc have sent $260 million north for public transport, with more to come for Watervew while city and district leaders have nobly put local needs aside to help the poor struggling super city!

A note of comic relief a voice from the past - Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said there needed to be one entity running transport, and he preferred it was the city council. "We have the experts and the ability and build the infrastructure - it's something of great interest and concern to us" he told The Press on February 23rd  2010.

Yeah right mate.

Ironically a recent report on planned infrastructure funding seems to speak more for Christchurch (and other centres) than does our local leadership  [my emphasis] "The Government's infrastructure investment priorities over the next three years were to work with stakeholders to rebuild Canterbury infrastructure, and to provide a " comprehensive approach to investment in Auckland that is fair to all New Zealanders and helps implement the Government's responsibilities through the Auckland spatial plan"

**Commented The Press at the time (April 21st 2007) my emphasis "This month, Transport Minister Annette King announced Moore's appointment to the boards of Transit New Zealand and Land Transport New Zealand. The announcement was controversial as Moore has been outspoken in his criticism of Transit funding policy in the past and the condition of Christchurch's roads had not significantly improved under his watch."

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