By Todd Muller
Last Monday night I attended the Save our Underpass Public Meeting to listen and share in the outrage within our community at NZTA’s plan to cancel the pedestrian and cycle underpass as part of the Baypark to Bayfair Link Project.
I totally agree the project needs to be stopped and redesigned fit for the vehicle movement of our fastest growing city and of course, maintenance of a safe underpass. Money is not an excuse. Phil Twyford has stated he is redirecting $313 million from light rail to state highways because of the Government’s bungled delivery of the Auckland light rail project.
I have called for this money to be directed to the Tauranga Northern Link and the Baylink underpass.
The Tauranga Northern Link was stopped last year at tender stage. This dangerous road must be fixed.
The Bayfair underpass was cancelled because its costs blew out to $33 million leaving our community at risk and struggling with the alternative option of having to cross three busy roads.
We suffer through appalling traffic queues, and an increasing tally of serious and fatal accidents through the delays and infrastructure crisis created by the Government’s inept handling of the transport portfolio.
The Prime Minister’s so-called ‘Year of Delivery’ has been a joke when it comes to transport because not a single major project has started under this government.
I can’t reinforce enough just how important roads and infrastructure are for our community. This is a real opportunity to get our region moving again.
Let’s not bungle this opportunity. Start pumping money into where it’s needed and get an urgent start on both these critical projects. I will continue to advocate on behalf of my community to get these built, and it can’t happen quickly enough.