Tough calls on transport to balance budget and get economy moving
June 04, 2021
The EMA says the downgrade of the New Zealand Upgrade programme will make moving freight and people around Auckland and Northland more difficult.
EMA Head of Advocacy and Strategy, Alan McDonald, says downgrades to major projects at Marsden Point and in the south of Auckland will make already congested corridors worse, hampering the critical movement of freight through and around Auckland.
"While it is good to see most of the projects going ahead, the increased costs associated with the programme are the result of not getting the projects started quick enough," he says.
"We understand delays related to COVID-19 have meant costs have increased, but it doesn’t change the fact that all 32 of these projects were essential, and any modifications to others may mean they don’t deliver the full benefits."
"The good news is the new rail link to Northport, which will mean more freight can be transported by rail than road, although it comes at the cost of a new state highway, with upgrades being made to State Highway 1 instead."
"And while we understand the need to balance the budget and, for example, the need for investment in rail in South Auckland, it is disappointing that the Mill Road project has been downgraded as it is desperately needed."
Mr McDonald says the EMA’s Bay of Plenty member businesses will be pleased to have a start date of later the year for stage one of the Takitimu North Link, the 6.8km four-lane expressway between Tauranga and Te Puna.
"The challenge now will be to find people with the right skills for the projects already underway, and to kick-start others in the pipeline so they can start on time and deliver the value to the economy and communities."