Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail must roll
The Green Party is urging the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to support the passenger train service between Waikato and Auckland.
“This is a common sense project with massive public support,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
Mr Hughes is in Hamilton for the presentation of Campaign for Better Transport’s 11,000 signature petition in support of the service.
“Every day hundreds of people drive between Auckland and Hamilton. A fast, efficient commuter service could allow them to do the trip faster, in more comfort, and also allow them to work if a wireless internet link was established on board the train,” said Mr Hughes.
A commuter rail service connecting Hamilton with Auckland would reduce congestion on SH1 at peak times. This benefits both the environment and is good for the Auckland region’s economy. ARTA estimates the cost of reduced congestion per person per year is $24,000.
“There is massive public support as indicated by the more than 11,000 people who signed the petition including Hamilton City Council, The Auckland Regional Council and local businesses who support the project and could allow their employees to work on the train, rather than losing profitable work time on the road,” Mr Hughes said.
“This Government is pouring massive amounts of public funds into uneconomic motorways like the Puhoi to Wellsford Holiday Highway or Transmission Gully yet fails to balance this investment with other transport opportunities in rail.”
For ever dollar invested in buses, trains, walking, and cycling, the Government spends seven dollars on roads. Such a one-sided investment strategy is leaving viable rail alternatives to roads out of NZTA’s funding decisions.
“The NZTA needs to stump up with the small amount of funds needed to get this important and popular project off the ground,” said Mr Hughes.
“The rail line is there, the carriages are sitting there, the people want it — what are we waiting for!”
For more information:
Gareth Hughes MP, 027 422 9290
Robert Ashe, Political & Media Advisor, 04 817 6714