Hutt Valley residents have sent a strong message to the Government that it needs to wake up, see sense, and build the Melling Interchange, Hutt South MP Chris Bishop says.
“It’s ridiculous, quite frankly, that the Government has delayed construction of this important State Highway 2 project until at least 2028 despite it being crucial for the Hutt’s prosperity and Transport Minister Phil Twyford admitting it ‘ticks all the boxes’ for funding.
“The project had NZTA approval until Phil Twyford came along. His delay is a slap in the face to the Hutt Valley. The 500 or so people who showed up to my Rally for Melling today made that clear. They can’t wait a decade for this project to go ahead.
“Not only is the Melling Interchange critical for easing SH2 congestion, improving road safety and upgrading the local railway station, it’s also needed to pave the way for the Riverlink project, which will increase Lower Hutt’s flood protection and revitalise its CBD.
“Hutt residents are now in the unbelievable situation of having to stump up $4 million from their own pockets to fund planning and consents for a major state highway project because the Government is too cheap.
“Phil Twyford has said there’s no money left. That’s preposterous. He’s got billions sitting in the Land Transport Fund and the $120m or so needed for Melling is a drop in the bucket.
“Hutt Valley residents deserve better. They got almost nothing out of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving transport package, which is throwing $6.4 billion at Wellington’s CBD, yet they’re being told to cover almost half the cost of that and wait a decade for any meaningful transport improvements of their own.
“The anger over this is red hot. My petition calling for action received 7000 signatures. Sods would be turning on the Melling Interchange right now if National was in Government.
“If elected in 2020, National will start construction of the Melling Interchange in our first term rather than lead people on with empty promises of funding that may never come.
“The Hutt Valley isn’t going to prosper under a Transport Minister who has short arms and deep pockets.”
Rally for Melling photos can be found here