Friday, 8th September, 2017
Michael Barnett, head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce was commenting on the list of Auckland transport projects unveiled by National’s transport spokesperson, Simon Bridges, this afternoon.
“Accelerating construction of Mill Road, Penlink, Northwestern Busway and the widening of the Southern Motorway between Papakura and Drury need to be put on a fast track for completion within 10 years or sooner.
“Auckland’s transport system is so far behind where it should be for a city of our size and pace of growth; we need to commit to their completion as a package within 10 years and in some cases much sooner.”
Given the scale of the catch-up Auckland needs, it is time we looked at putting out an international tender to get all projects underway in parallel.
“We should quickly determine which projects are critical for completion before we defend the America’s Cup and host APEC in 2021, when we will be expecting an increase in visitor numbers. Targeting the completion of projects such as the widening of SH20B route to Auckland Airport and adding a busway that links to the rail system at Puhinui would seem a logical move,” said Mr Barnett.
The East West Link and Third Main Rail Line and extending electrification are a group of critical projects that have been on transport plans for decades.
“The sooner we can complete the catch-up agenda to get Auckland to where it should have been 10 years ago, the sooner we can look at what’s needed to get in front of our growth curve and what transport system we will need when the population gets to 2 million, as it is projected to do by 2029.”
National’s announcement today provides the certainty that business has been seeking. “There are no surprises in the projects confirmed today. What’s needed next is a firm commitment to their completion on a tight time frame as a package,” said Mr Barnett.