Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Northwestern busway to get green light

A busway on the Northwestern Motorway from Westgate to Te Atatu aims to reduce congestion. Photo / Dean Purcell
A busway on the Northwestern Motorway from Westgate to Te Atatu aims to reduce congestion. Photo / Dean Purcell

A busway on the Northwestern Motorway from Westgate to Te Atatu will get the green light over the next decade, according to a new transport strategy released today.

The first phase of the Northwestern Motorway, more electric trains and extending rail electrification to Pukekohe are among an indicative package of projects for priority funding.

Finance Minister Bill English, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Len Brown today released a joint report which sets out a strategy for the development of Auckland's transport system over the next 30 years.

For the past year, the council and the Government have been working together on the strategy through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

Other projects on the 10-year horizon for priority additional funding are new and upgraded roads for new housing, motorway improvements to address congestion and upgraded access to Auckland Airport from the east.

In a statement, English said that over the past 15 years, the Government and Auckland Council's combined annual transport investment in Auckland has increased from $500 million to $2.1 billion.

"This has allowed us to keep pace with the challenges which have stemmed from strong population growth.

"However, Auckland's population is set to grow by 700,000 people in the next 30 years and our findings show congestion is set to get worse under current plans. It's essential that we prioritise new and better infrastructure to deliver value for money and addresses these challenges," English said.

Bridges said ATAP has concluded that to achieve a step change in the performance of Auckland's transport system "we need to move towards smarter network pricing alongside significant and ongoing investment to support growth and a much greater focus on getting more throughput on the existing network".

"While extra investment is needed to address the most pressing transport challenges facing Auckland, the report makes the case that we can't build our way out of the problem in the long-run. This is neither affordable nor cost-effective for taxpayers and ratepayers.

"Targeted ongoing investment is just one of three essential parts to develop Auckland's transport system. Making better use of the existing network and influencing transport demand are equally important.

"Technology also has the potential to play a critical role in influencing travel demand. Emerging transport technology is fundamentally reshaping the way transport is provided and used. It is important that we make sure Auckland and the rest of New Zealand is well positioned to take full advantage of these opportunities," Bridges said.

"The Government will now work with Auckland Council to consider this ambitious, strategic approach."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 28 May 2017 16:45:05 Processing Time: 634ms