Uncertainty over who will pay bill

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013
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Uncertainty over the cost of the proposed central Christchurch transport network could stall progress on the rebuild, Wigram Labour MP Megan Woods says.

In November, the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) released draft plans for overhauling the city centre's transport network, but it refused to put a cost on the work, saying it would do so only when the final plans were delivered to the Cabinet next month.

The lack of clarity over the cost and how it will be split among the Government, NZ Transport Agency, Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council has Woods worried that disputes over funding could stall progress.

In a submission on the CCDU's draft transport plan, Woods said that while there were some exciting ideas, details of who would pay for what were missing.

"All the best ideas in the world will count for nothing if funding cannot be sorted out between central and local government. For all of our sakes, I hope this does not become a drawn-out squabble," she said.

The Green Party surveyed 129 people in Christchurch as part of its submission on the transport plan.

The survey showed people wanted better bus services and improved walking and cycling facilities. About 85 per cent of those who took part in the poll felt the Government was not listening to residents on transport issues.

Green MP Eugenie Sage said the transport plan, as it stood, did not deliver enough of what people wanted.

If she had to give it a mark out of 10, she would give it a four.

"We have a huge opportunity to establish a long-term, sustainable, energy-efficient transport system, and the plan that the CCDU has put out is not a recipe for that," Sage said.

She raised concerns about the lack of financial detail.

"How can you do a plan when you don't know how much it is going to cost and who is going to fund it?"

The public consultation period on the draft transport plan ended yesterday. Submissions from the public will now be analysed before a final transport plan for the city centre is presented to the Cabinet for approval next month.

KEY PROPOSALS

- Kilmore and Salisbury streets will become two-way.

- Tuam St will replace Lichfield St on the west-east one-way system.

- A "slow core" around Cathedral Square with a 30kmh speed limit.

- Cars will not be permitted in the Square or the retail precinct around Cashel St.

- The new central bus interchange in Tuam St will be supported by two "super stops", at Christchurch Hospital and Manchester St.

- Tuam and Manchester streets will be widened.

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- Bus routes into the central city will be cut from more than 40 to seven. They will be more frequent and run only on a few arterial streets.

- More, smaller parking buildings.

- Streetscapes with walking and cycling lanes, cycle-friendly streets in and out of the city centre and cycle paths running through.

- The Press

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