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.

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  1. Notice a recent Herald story with Joyce questioning whether RLTS priority projects like the CBD rail tunnel have been properly thought through:

    “Mr Joyce said he had seen summaries of some of the existing reports but, if the projects were to get Government funding, all relevant parties, including the Super City council, would need to agree on the assessments of costs and effects. “There are a number of things we would need to do besides just saying ‘I want a CBD rail tunnel’,” added Mr Joyce.”

    Mike Lee’s quoted concerns are interesting in light of recent discussion here about the relative influence over the region’s future tranport planning of Wellington Government and new Auckland Council:

    “He is starting to run with the idea that there is no planning or very little planning to justify spending on public transport upgrades on the Auckland isthmus … and there has been a veritable truckload of the stuff,” he said.

  2. I can say that a lot more thought has gone into the CBD rail tunnel than into Joyce’s holiday highway. The CBD tunnel has been on plans since the 1920s!

  3. It’s starting to be the kind of stuff that anyone with some knowledge of Auckland’s plans, thinks “WTF”, hardcore transport followers like us say “WTF…!” and 98% of the people out there go, “Oh well in that case I guess motorways have worked pretty well so far, lets get some more”…

  4. Missed the main article from last weekend with more lengthy quotes by Joyce –

    Rudman picks that up and echoes your point today, Joshua:

    “Mr Joyce now seems to be deliberately taunting Aucklanders, promising all will be well, while slowly and publicly plucking the wheels off the trains, one by one.

    He seemed to be deliberately mischievous last weekend when, while enthusing about roads, he told the Weekend Herald that “rail projects are [important] as well, but with the urban ones we need to know the impact on land-use planning in Auckland.”

    He complained “there’s no business case or plans which says, ‘here’s where we’re going to put the two million people we’re told are going to live in Auckland in 22 years’.”

    Whatever else Auckland local government can be criticised for, a failure to prepare reports is not one of them.

    Mr Joyce is one of the National Government’s smarter minds and a quick learner, so it’s hard to believe he was ignorant of the shelves of reports prepared over the years which could be wheeled out to contradict this claim.”

    Little point revising the RLTS if Joyce is only listening to advice from his trucking and construction buddies, and seeing Auckland as a place that people and freight drive through on their way to the surrounding regions.

    1. I think there is a point in the ARC being strongly pro-public transport – as long as they can show their viewpoint is logical and reasonable. They have generally achieved this so far. If nobody is opposing Joyce, nobody pointing out how stupid some of his ideas are, then he’s going to win easily.

      The ARC and the regional transport committee as a whole may not be nearly as powerful as him, but it’s important they keep kicking up a fight. We need to help them whatever way we can.

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