Tuesday, 22nd August, 2017
Michael Barnett, head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce was commenting on the list of 10 RONS unveiled by National last weekend.
“National’s $10 billion RONS package will have a significant benefit to the State Highways linking Auckland with Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
“It is a shocking omission that a fast fix of Auckland Airport’s traffic nightmare is still apparently not a top priority,” he said.
After the gridlock events late last year the Chamber called for the setting up of a taskforce to tackle the Airport’s worsening traffic chaos, and a time line to upgrade the Eastern 20B access route with speed and urgency.
Calling for the project to be declared a RONS last year, the Chamber said the warning signs have been apparent for years with the root cause Auckland’s rapid growth success.
“Since then the urgency for fast track action has heightened. In 2021 Auckland will host APEC and an America’s Cup defense. Auckland’s reputation as a modern world city will be on the line. It is a project that will benefit the NZ economy, not just the airport.”
Both the road upgrade to 4-lanes and provision of a busway to a modernized Puhinui Railway Station need to be completed by then, said Mr Barnett. The cost of the road upgrade and busway is estimated at about $100 million.
A task force comprising Auckland Airport, Auckland Transport and NZTA has been established. “But where is the urgency for action?
The just-published updated Government-Auckland Council aligned transport programme (ATAP) indicates that construction of 20B is unlikely to occur before 2021 - “That’s too late and unacceptable.”