Rail is the answer

Last updated 09:58 02/10/2012

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On Friday, September 21, there was an accident on State Highway 2. It took me 85 minutes to get from Waiwhetu to Wellington Hospital and it meant an appointment had to be rescheduled. My wife was travelling to the airport and two Airport Flyer buses never came; fortunately she was meeting someone, not catching a flight.

(On) Thursday, September 27, there was an enormous queue of traffic on Petone Esplanade at 8.30am. What happens if there is an emergency? How much money is wasted and frustration created because of this traffic mess?

What happens when there is an oil shortage crisis? It is a case of when that happens, not if.

I notice a good number of trucks stuck in the traffic; I guess the customer pays for this inefficiency.

There is only one solution: more use of rail. We need the Gracefield line to be used for commuters as well as freight.

The oil that is wasted in taking vehicles up and down the Wainuiomata Hill is adding to carbon dioxide emissions as well as unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicles. New Zealand has reaped the benefits of works like the Homer Tunnel that were built in a time of depression. If that tunnel had not been built then, would we have the vision to build it today? I doubt it.

There would be ongoing efficiency benefits, employment, a great reduction in frustration, and more security of transport if the Gracefield line were used, and if Wainuiomata was linked by a tunnel to the rail system. I suspect the reason it is not considered viable is inadequate accounting that does not consider the real costs of things like frustration, carbon dioxide emissions, vehicle wear and tear, (and) inefficiencies for businesses affected. And what will happen when oil becomes a whole lot more expensive?

Norman Wilkins,


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