It is no surprise to see NZTA’s confirmation that the Let’s Get Wellington Moving package has been politically compromised.
Delaying the second Mount Victoria tunnel and Basin Reserve improvements for reasons of political ideology is unacceptable. There are several aspects of the LGWM package that show it is clearly anti-motorist. Today’s revelations are just further confirmation of that, and I expect there will be more.
As it stands LGWM is unbalanced, unworkable and unaffordable. This is a failure of leadership, and also shows the dangers of ideological decision making. As Mayor I will change that.
We need more people walking, biking and using public transport, and we also need a functioning state highway system. That has always been part of the City’s transport strategy. Without a functioning State Highway system city streets will become ever more congested as the city grows, and Eastern suburbs residents and Airport users will become ever more frustrated. LGWM as it stands proposes to reduce roading capacity north of the Basin and this will be exacerbated during construction of public transport projects which as proposed will reduce capacity along the Quays and through Newtown.
Wellington deserves a coherent transport package that will actually work. As it stands LGWM will not get Wellington moving at all, but it will still cost Wellingtonians around 20% increase on our rates over the next ten years – on top of the already planned 52%.
We must get on with early improvements for walking, cycling and public transport especially but not only in the Central City.
We now finally have some commitment to get on with bus priority on key routes. That is essential to make our bus system more reliable and more efficient.
We must start now on detailed planning and the resource consents for the Mount Victoria tunnel and Basin Reserve, and associated roading improvements.
We need to get on with the business case for step change in public transport to decide what will stack up and what the right mode and route are. I share many people’s skepticism about the current proposal.
We need to decide on funding tools, ideally ones that will help achieve transport outcomes as well as reduce the impost on rates significantly.
Our Government needs to help Wellington on this, not be a handbrake.
Councillor Andy Foster is a candidate for the Wellington mayoralty.