$7.4 billion but no new driving lanes

Wed, 29 Jun, 2022

“Lets Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) has finally jumped the shark, this morning announcing a new four-lane tunnel for bikes, walkers and buses through Mt Victoria, but not adding any increased capacity for motorists,” says ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court.

“Somehow under a Labour Government a $7.4 billion transport package amounts to not a single new lane for drivers to use.

“I asked the Minister in Parliament how many people drive through the Mt Victoria Tunnel per day, and how many does he project will walk and cycle through if the Government bans cars from the tunnel, as he announced this morning?

“He wouldn’t address the question, but instead bragged about how his Government is providing the exact same capacity for cars as there is currently – but spending billions of taxpayer dollars in the process.

“Treasury advice states that Wellington’s population will grow by 80,000 by 2050. It is totally bonkers to think that these people are all going to be able to move around without greater capacity than there is currently.

“In fact, 70 per cent of respondents to LGWM surveys stated they wanted "two lanes for general traffic in each direction because they believe this would future proof the investment and support population growth and intensification”.

“Just like he did with the cancelled Auckland Cycle Bridge, Minister Wood has put his ideology before common sense – at great expense to taxpayers. The reality is that New Zealand’s economy and geographic layout relies on people being able to drive, but he seems to think he can bully the population into cycling, walking and bussing everywhere.

“Put it this way, has anyone ever seen people lining up to use the walking track through the existing Mt Vic tunnel? The demand simply isn’t there.

“ACT would take the politics out of transport and infrastructure and get central and local government working together through 30-year infrastructure partnerships, devolving revenue and responsibility to regional governments and the private sector, while strengthening accountability and oversight from central government.

“By setting plans decades in advance, we can avoid the on-again, off-again uncertainty created by the political cycle which deters councils and private infrastructure investors from undertaking ambitious projects.”