"Chris Darby, North Shore City's representative on the Regional Transport Committee, acknowledged that a 34 per cent Government increase in highway construction funding over the next three years may give the country a short-term economic development boost."
You might ask what a Regional Transport Committee is needed for, before the last government it was nearly impotent.
Mr Darby condemned the (new government funding) policy statement, which Auckland Regional Council officers have estimated will require 76 per cent of land transport funds to be spent on roads, as "an absolute time warp to the 1950s."
A time warp - even though easily 40% of funds are always spent on maintenance as it is, is it that unreasonably to spend three quarters on road maintenance and upgrades? The rest of the world is building roads, but Mr Darby is a local government planner, and he wants to throw other people's money at modes he thinks Aucklanders ought to be using, rather than letting Aucklanders choose, after paying real prices for using roads and public transport.
ARTA itself admits that 86% of commutes in Auckland are undertaken by car, but only 7% by public transport (most of which is NOT rail) and 5% by walking and cycling. So it is hardly unreasonable for central government to expect 76% of Auckland transport funding to go to roads, roads move over 90% of Auckland commuters, railways move less than 2% and the rest go by ferry or footpath.
"He said it failed to provide against dwindling oil supplies and risked leaving future Aucklanders with redundant roading infrastructure and inadequate public transport to make do with less fuel.
"It will be a long-time liability - what we are seeing here really lacks imagination and I am convinced it lacks examination," he said."
Apparently Aucklanders will move by some other means, and Mr Darby is another commodity speculator who doesn't actually risk his own money on the assertion that oil prices will go sky high. If they don't use roads, will they fly? Railways couldn't physically move more than maybe 9% of Auckland commuters even if almost all those who live near them used them! So who lacks imagination?
What sort of imbecile is Mr Darby if he thinks there will be LESS fuel, not DIFFERENT fuel? Why will roads, the most flexible transport infrastructure there is, be redundant? HE is the person without examination of his assertion, they are the sort of rants of Green politicians, not anything from a transport professional.
So why should he have any say at all? He doesn't represent users, he doesn't represent producers, he represents planners.
What's wrong will letting those who maintain and build roads spend the money raised from taxing those using them. If there is less road use (as there is), there is less money and less road building. If there is more road use, then there is more money, and at peak times roads might cost a lot more (and a lot less at off peak times).
Similarly if there is more public transport use, there is more money to spend on services - oh yes, don't forget that Auckland local government has spent the last few years subsidising rail services and undermining commercial (unsubsidised) bus services, so more fare revenue doesn't mean more services, as it doesn't generate enough money for more.
So isn't it time that local government had its hands taken off one of the most essential sets of infrastructure in the country?