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Transport Minister Phil Twyford’s determination to build a light rail link to Auckland airport from the CBD without a completed business case shows ideology not the needs of commuters is driving transport policy, National’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Mr Twyford confirmed in Parliament today that he is committed to light rail to the airport, even before a business case has been completed. He also declared that he would not consider connecting the airport to the current rail network at the nearby Puhinui station, even if it were shown to be cheaper and more effective.

“These are massive decisions, costing billions of dollars and potentially causing huge disruption to important routes, such as Dominion Road, and yet the Minister seems to have closed his mind, regardless of evidence.

“In reality, this decision was made during the Labour-Greens Coalition negotiations, in the absence of any real data.

“Aucklanders are paying significant new fuel taxes with many struggling at the pump, yet they are getting fewer critical roads and are at significant risk of increased congestion. 

“Rather than building roads that would significantly reduce congestion, such as Mill Road and the East-West Link he is diverting large sums to what appears to be a slow tram to the airport that few people can understand.

“I would be interested to know how many people would use a tram to the airport if it took nearly twice as long to get there as a bus – I suspect not enough.

“Aucklanders want to know that limited transport funds are put to the best use. With the Government’s current priorities and ideological decisions we can have no confidence that this is the case.”

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