Monday, 18th December, 2017
“Ready to Go” since 2013, if Government is not going to soon say “YES” to get Penlink construction underway, maybe it can explain “WHY NOT’.
In the last four years traffic queues at the SH1-Silverdale intersection have grown from around 1km each morning to now stretch nearly 5km most days and are now well into the working day and most weekends. With big housing projects underway in Silverdale, Wainui and Dairy Flat congestion can only get worse. Yet there is an obvious fix – Penlink.
A tolled 4-lane Penlink with a dedicated peak-hour Busway and HOV (higher-occupancy vehicle) lane from day one, would remove around 30,000v/day from the intersection and provide a public transport option lacking in this part of Auckland.
A lasting legacy and point of difference would be created in how Auckland has traditionally tackled solutions to the City’s big transport problems.
The new Government still has time to move on Penlink within its first 100 days in office – today is Day 54. Consented with a strong business case, appeals dealt with, land purchased and private sector money on offer, I fail to understand why the new Government has not taken the opportunity to come off the fence and use the Penlink Project to back up its talk of wanting to fix Auckland’s big issues with accelerated speed and urgency.
Private sector money to build a 4-lane Penlink and address other local transport problems is there - we should take advantage of it NOW. Locals have indicated they are prepared to pay a toll.
What’s needed for a Penlink “GO” is decisive leadership. With Auckland Council opting out citing a lack of funding, Government must lead. ‘Build it properly and do it NOW” is my Christmas message to Transport Minister Phil Twyford and his colleagues. And if you can’t say “yes”, you need to spell out “why not” – the long-suffering Silverdale community deserves some answers.