Wgtn Mayor Explains Motorway Support


Wellington’s Mayor today defended her support for the NZTA motorway proposals - the Ngauranga to Wellington Airport Corridor Plan - and says she remains committed to advancing a light-rail route between the Wellington Railway Station and the Airport.
“Public transport has always been my priority,” says Celia Wade-Brown in the light of last night’s support given by her for the NZTA motorway proposals.
The Mayor is a Green candidate but the Green’s parliamentary transport spokesman Gareth Hughes today expressed disappointment she had agreed.

Writing on his blog, MP Gareth Hughes said: “I am not sure why the mayor changed her position. I suspect she would have come under enormous pressure from the bullying tactics of the NZTA and the Government, and also from the hostile reporting on the issue in the Dominion Post. That said, I think political leaders need to stick to their principles, most importantly in tough times.
“Essentially the Council has written a blank cheque to the NZTA. It is preposterous that the Council could vote on a project when no one, not even the council officers, has seen the final plans. Wellingtonians haven’t even seen sketches of what the proposed fly-over around the Basin Reserve will look like, and we don’t know how many lanes are proposed on the motorway through Hataitai<” he said.

Cycles outside the Wellington railway station. Will there be light rail one day?

Celia Wade-Brown said there have been many local and global issues raised in the Ngauranga to Airport debate.
“With a clear Council position, I now look forward to a full briefing from NZTA on the details of its proposals for the route - and I am committed to the Council working with NZTA to facilitate public consultation on the proposals.  ”In particular, I welcome the proposal by the NZTA for a consultation committee of representatives of WCC, GWRC and NZTA to ensure the views of all Wellingtonians are heard on the package of proposals.”
The NZTA has issued a statement welcoming the Council’s support as “an important step towards progressing the multi-modal initiatives embraced in the plan.”
The Mayor also welcomed yesterday’s announcement that Government funding has been approved for <a href=”http://www.aktnz.co.nz/2011/04/20/1m-wellington-light-rail-study-approved/” target=”_blank”>a $1 million study -</a> part of the corridor plan that the Council voted to support - on a high-quality public transport route through the city to the Regional Hospital.
The study will consider the best options for a high-quality public transport route through Wellington city. Tenders will be called for the study within the next few weeks.
The Mayor said: “Many Wellingtonians choose public transport for their journeys to work, education or recreation. Now we must improve its reliability and cut journey times.
“Light rail, as one option, has additional potential to bring in investment along its route, as shown in many cities overseas from Nottingham to Portland. Efficient public transport is crucial for our economy.”
Last night’s extraordinary meeting was held when NZTA expressed concern at the lack of a total commitment to the plan from the new Mayor and 9 councillors called the meeting to get clarification for the NZTA.
The Council meeting agreed to:

  • Support, subject to satisfactory design, the delivery of peak period lanes on SH1 between Ngauranga and Aotea Quay, with concurrent changes to Hutt Road as set out in the Plan, and improvements around the Basin Reserve to separate north / south flows from east / west traffic and to achieve the performance measures set out in the Corridor Plan.
  • Support, subject to confirmation of need and design options, improvements to Wellington Road, Ruahine Street, and the duplication of the Mount Victoria and the Terrace Tunnels.
  • Support the provision of public transport improvements, and travel demand management, walking and cycling measures.
  • Support the requirement for public consultation on the proposed NZTA projects on State Highway 1 and be an active and supportive partner during the consultation phase of these projects.
  • Participate in the NZTA committee on public consultation and agree to appoint the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon, the Council’s Transport Portfolio Leader, Andy Foster, and the Council’s Community Engagement Portfolio Leader, Paul Eagle.





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