Weekend Sun   

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

What do trains, trams, bikes, and buses have in common? Together they won’t fix Tauranga’s traffic congestion without continued investment in roads. “Heresy!” I hear you say?

It’ll take 50 years for Tauranga to reach a population of 200,000; only then does public transport come into its own. Meanwhile, we must provide better public transport, but evidence suggests we shouldn’t neglect extra lanes on roads. It’s not sinful to build more lanes; it’s necessary.

Unfortunately, the Ardern-Peters government is taking a wrecking ball to our regional roading plans. Four-lanes to Katikati – gone; Tauranga Northern Link – on hold and at risk. In their place we’ll no doubt get an old diesel train in its last few years before heading to the knackers’ yard; taking a few passengers on a four-hour journey to Auckland once a day! NZ First promised to remove tolls from Route K; no action but the government is looking at double-dipping by tolling the Papamoa East Interchange that’s being built by TCC!

This city alone bears the imposition of congestion because we host the port, yet Regional Council uses the dividend from the port to subsidise rates for the Eastern Bay and Rotorua. Also, 90 per cent of that council’s $200m infrastructure fund from the port shares was allocated outside Tauranga. They can’t sit on the side-lines anymore; the money needs to be spent on the city that bears the cost of congestion or our port will lose its speed advantage over Auckland.

Watch this space for some leadership from Tauranga City Council on this issue.

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