Wednesday, April 04, 2018

A good move

At the Wellington Climate 2050 panel on Thursday, Climate Change Minister James Shaw mentioned that the government had recently rewritten its policy statement on transport, which directed how transport funding would be allocated. Now its been released, and there are major changes. National's pet roads are gone, to be replaced with better public transport and light rail in Auckland:

The Labour Government released its draft 10-year transport plan yesterday, including cutting more than $5 billion from state highway upgrades and channelling the money into public transport such as light rail, urban cycleways and safety improvements on urban and regional roads in a bid to lower the road toll.

Big ticket items include about $4 billion over the next five years for the beginning stages of light rail in Auckland - one of Labour's election promises.

To pay for it, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said further petrol tax hikes of between 9–12 cents per litre would need to be phased in over the next three years.

While National is already wailing about regional road users paying for "trolleys in Auckland", there's a much greater focus on regional roads, and especially on making immediate safety improvements to them so they're not death-traps - something National stripped funding from to pay for its RONS. And of course the regions will get their share of public transport and rail funding as well. It seems to be a much more balanced policy than National's, with a welcome focus on safety rather than economic growth (code for "subsidising the trucking industry"); hopefully it'll last long enough to have an impact.