Public transport should be focus - council

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:36 05/08/2014

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The Government needs to focus less on state highways and more on roads and public transport, the Wellington City Council says.

The council is calling on the government to shift its focus when it comes to transport, with hopes of creating a more long-term vision.

Councillors at the transport and urban development committee this morning signed off a submission on the government's latest land transport policy statement, which sets the strategic aims for the 2015/16 to 2024/25 period.

Among points highlighted by the council, were the need for a more long-term plan, and greater emphasis on public transport.

The committee also added an emphasis on the affordability of public transport, urging the government to strike a better balance between the amount it is funded by fares.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who recently returned from a trip around Europe, said she was amazed at how much more affordable buses were overseas.

''Our bus system is considerably more expensive.''

However, it was also important to note the importance of health benefits from encouraging more active modes, such as cycling, she said.

The council also called on the government to spread funding more equitably, with less of a focus on state highways at the detriment of local roads.

Committee chairman Andy Foster said local roads carried about 50 per cent of the traffic, but only received about 30 per cent of the funding.

But Jo Coughlan questioned whether Wellington should be questioning funding levels, given uncertainty over major roading projects following a Board of Inquiry declining the Basin Flyover project in its draft decision last month.

However, Foster said the point being made was not specifically related to the flyover.

''It's not about one project, it's about the balance of funding across the entire country.''

Councillors also called for financial incentives to be made available to help shift people into electric vehicles.

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- The Dominion Post

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