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National out of touch on Auckland transport woes

John Key’s kneejerk opposition to Labour’s plan for Auckland light rail shows a lack of vision to solve Auckland’s transport problems, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.

“Labour will build light rail because it is urgently needed. Aucklanders want this project to make travelling around the city easier.

“Mr Key’s assertion that more buses can do the job of decongesting Dominion Rd shows he doesn’t know what is going on. Auckland Transport experts have found bus congestion is already an issue with a ‘wall of buses effect up to 100 metres long’.

“It is projected Auckland CBD will be at capacity for buses in five years.

“Simply throwing more buses down Dominion Rd would only make congestion worse while a Bus Rapid Transit option – which would include a tunnel under the CBD - would be more costly, more uncertain, and require more purchases of properties along the route.

“The business case is clear: light rail delivers the highest level of benefits for the cost of investment.

“Light rail is the best option to get Auckland moving. Auckland Council want light rail in the next decade. The Government-led Auckland Transport Alignment Project admits that, on the basis of demand, light rail should be built within ten years. Even National put light rail in their long-term plan to be built after 2028, albeit with no money committed.

“It now seems National’s unfunded promise of light rail after 2028 was just a charade. Either National never had any intention of build light rail, or they have dropped it out of a kneejerk opposition to Labour policy.

“Labour has the plan to get Auckland moving. Mr Key wants to play politics and leave Aucklanders stuck in congestion,” says Andrew Little.