Some important last minute changes are being made to the Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) before it is notified for public submissions next month. Following what’s going on in the meetings of the Regional Transport Committee (RTC) has certainly been quite fascinating in recent times. At the most recent meeting the RTC has directed the strategy to be altered in a few potentially significant ways.
Let’s have a look at what was resolved:
That the Preferred Option be amended to reflect a public transport led approach which requires a fundamental shift in public transport services where the supply of public transport services is ahead of demand and there is a rebalancing of investment in favour of travel demand management, active modes, public transport and local roads particularly over the first ten years and our preference to see a number of capital projects be given a higher priority in terms of timing.
That the reference to the Central Business District rail loop in the discussion on Policy 4.3.1 (page 77) state that the project needs to progress on an urgent basis with a view to completing by 2021 to enable rail services to increase in capacity and support the intensification of the Central Business District.
That the strategy recognises that priority needs to be made for planning route protection and identification to enable future extension of rail from the southern end of the new (rail future-proofed) Manukau Harbour Crossing to Auckland International Airport and on to the North Island main trunk line.
The RTC also directed their officers to review the entire draft RLTS, in the following ways:
The Regional Land Transport Strategy 2010 should incorporate a Transport Energy and Carbon Emissions chapter including relevant policies to reduce transport carbon and a set of measures which among other things should respond to Central Government carbon reduction commitments.
The Regional Land Transport Strategy 2010 should explicitly provide for the need to integrate transport and land use planning, and include policies for implementation at local and regional levels.
Along with a few other administrative amendments, the RTC also made the following resolution:
That the Chair write to the Minister of Transport advising him of progress the Regional Transport Committee is making in preparing the draft Regional Land Transport Strategy, the difference in direction between the draft Regional Land Transport Strategy and the Government Policy Statement, and in particular the assessment of priority projects for the region and offer to work with the Minister and relevant central government agencies.
The friction between the transport priorities the RTC and those of Wellington do seem to have intensified in the past couple of weeks. It will certainly be interesting to see how that issue develops.
The full draft of the RLTS (prior to these changes being made) is available here.
With regards to the other resolutions, I’m extremely glad that the RTC recognised how woeful the previous timelines for the CBD rail tunnel and rail to the airport were. Finally there seems to be a clear sense of purpose that these large projects are critical for Auckland’s future – not only to ensure that we shift to a more sustainable transport future, but also to ensure that all the hard work being done to create a more sustainable urban form in Auckland isn’t undermined by poor decision making of transport projects.