30 Aug 2012

Auckland gets $3.4bn in transport investment

8:27 pm on 30 August 2012

Auckland has pocketed the lion's share in the latest round of Government spending on roads and public transport, but opposition parties say it's going on the wrong projects.

The region is getting more than a quarter of the $12.28 billion allocated across the country over the next three years.

Roading and public transport systems in the Auckland region will receive $3.4 billion. The Western Ring Route motorway, one of the Government's roads of national significance, will have $1.15 billion.

State highways are allocated $1.6 billion in total and more than $950 million will be spent on local roads.

The public transport system will get $890 million dollars to be spent on new electric trains for the network and an integrated ticketing service.

The Transport Agency says more money could be allocated as projects are developed. Spokesperson Stephen Town says most of the networks that make up Auckland's transport system need investment.

"We're trying to get that balance right and finish those networks, so that when the public transport system is completed people have got genuine choice about which mode of transport they choose."

The Labour and the Green parties say money is being spent in the wrong areas on the wrong projects, and criticise the lack of spending on the city rail link.

Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says public transport is being treated like the poor cousin.

"We simply cannot go on building more and more motorways. We must build a modern public transport system. The success of the Northern Busway in taking cars off the Harbour Bridge every morning demonstrates that if you provide a reliable, convenient, affordable public transport service Aucklanders will choose it, and many people will leave their cars at home."

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley believes the allocation of funding is fair. He says roads get the country's exports to market and create wealth for the country, and better road networks benefit the economy.

The Transport Agency is holding a briefing on Thursday with Auckland Council and other key partners.

City Rail Link funding not sought

Auckland mayor Len Brown says more work needs to be done before the City Rail Link can receive government funding.

The link, estimated to cost almost $3 billion, is a priority for Mr Brown but was not included in the Transport Agency's funding announcement.

Mr Brown says the council did not ask for any funding, as more planning is needed, such as route protection and buying land.

However, councillor Cameron Brewer says the council should apply for it so ratepayers don't bear the brunt of the cost.