Wednesday, 15 June 2016

LetsGetWellyMoving in plain English

Bill English bad-mouths Wellington  for its "lack of 'progressive attitude' to transport solutions"
( DomPost 3 June). But then he appears to offer an olive branch saying "Lack of money is not a problem for the bottlenecks in Wellington's city infrastructure".
But Wellingtonians beware: what he means, of course, is ' Hurry up and make the decision to bore another Mt Victoria tunnel, bulldoze a huge swathe through your town belt along Ruahine St, destroy your citizens' homes along Wellington Rd so we can put a huge motorway through to the airport'. Because this is this government's and its NZ Transport Agency's (NZTA) agenda.

NZTA are such slow learners—first they muck up the Basin flyover plan at huge cost to taxpayers, appealing the decision to cancel it made by independent Commissioners after a long and expensive enquiry. And now they are still pigheadedly refusing to see alternatives to more roads--the obvious one for Wellington's constrained geography being light rail which can be installed for a fraction of the cost of the $1billion plus for their roading plans.

Besides cost, there are two other compelling reasons to cancel these motorways: climate change and health. The first is the greatest threat to the second. Also, more roads threaten health further by encouraging more private transport which promote air pollution, crashes and a sedentary lifestyle. And road congestion returns soon after building them (just look at Auckland).

We dodged a bullet cancelling NZTA's Basin flyover plans. Let’s bring this government and NZTA's thinking into the 21st century. GetWellymoving is our chance to stop this planned motorway madness.

The Minister of Finance says there's plenty of money. Both our City and Regional Councils have climate change action plans which are to encourage people out of their cars and create a low-carbon capital--these plans are completely at odds with the government's transport agenda for Wellington.

Our local politicians must now get Bill English's funds currently projected for destructive roads transferred to pay for all-electric, high capacity, congestion-free light rail from railway station via the hospital to the airport. If Mayor Brown can get the Government to cough up towards Auckland's recently-started light rail construction why can't we?

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