Over the weekend I made a trip to Auckland on the bus. The cost was slightly less than if I'd taken the car (petrol, plus $4.60 to use the Northern Gateway motorway).
The trip takes longer, but if you settle into it and relax it's a nice enough opportunity to doze and read.
For reading material, I had the supplement in this paper from last week, "Our Roads & Transport in Northland 2018".
In this supplement, the two National MPs in Northland, Shane Reti and Matt King, argued (again) for a four-lane highway from Warkworth to Whangārei that completely by-passes the Brynderwyns.
National MPs in other regions are also promising to deliver more new highways, nine in total. So Northland isn't special in that regard.
As we know, the Coalition Government has said no to the four-lane highway and is putting money into improving the safety and standard of existing roads in Northland.
They're also looking at upgrading the rail network, as well as a possible new line to Northport. Expect announcements close to election time.
Rather than acknowledge the merits of any of this, National is sticking to its "roads first" policy.
Though it was hardly robust policy detail we got from Dr Reti and Mr King.
They didn't talk about the cost of building the four-lane highway from Warkworth to Whangārei (probably in the region of $3-4 billion).
Nor did they give a completion date. To do it in less than 20 years would be an achievement.
They failed to mention that this new highway would be a public-private partnership (PPP). The Government forks out part of the money, with the rest coming from private investors who would get their profits out of the tolls paid by motorists.
If the toll for the 7.5km long Northern Gateway is $2.30 (one way), how much for a highway that's at least 12 times as long? $20 each way? More?
Tolls will be collected on the Northern Gateway for another 25 years - how long for a Warkworth to Whangārei four-lane highway?
Would they actually be able to find investors? By the time they'd expect to make some money there's going to be a lot of uncertainty about car volumes on the road.
Or would there be a Government guarantee that makes the taxpayer liable for a road that doesn't return a profit?
In 2050, the likely scenario is a much smaller fleet of electric cars paying tolls on an extravagantly unnecessary road. There won't be trucks, because running heavy load vehicles from a battery is a ludicrous waste of energy, when you can transport freight - you guessed it - on a train directly connected to the electrical grid.
So, National, get with the programme, stop misleading people with vague promises and omissions of detail.
Electric rail, coastal shipping, affordable public transport, a small fleet of private electric cars, cycling, and our own two legs, is the future of transport in Northland.
The sooner we put money and resources into making the transition, the less costly it will be in the long run.
The ability to catch a train to other centres in Northland and the rest of the country is something I'd like to live to see.
■ Vaughan Gunson is a writer and poet interested in social justice and big issues facing the planet.