Auckland Transport Alignment Project report practically silent on road freight

For National Road Carriers

The $31 billion Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) announced today by Minister of Transport Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is practically silent on road freight says National Road Carriers Association (NRC) CEO David Aitken.

The report is just about all about walking, cycling and public transport. “It will help some people get to where they want to go – but what about transporting food to eat, medicines, clothing and manufacturing supplies?” said Mr Aitken.

“The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that truck drivers play a vital role in delivering essential supplies for New Zealanders. Everything we consume is delivered by multiple truck trips from seaport or airport to distribution centres and then on to retail outlets or direct to homes. The public see the freight industry as heroes as a result of their work during Covid.

Mr Aitken says the ATAP report is unbalanced because there is almost no mention of strategic freight routes that will enable trucks to move around the city more easily to deliver the supplies we need for daily life.

“This is very disappointing because half of the investment comes from the National Land Transport Fund, whose main contributor is the freight community through road user charges, which were increased last year.

“The long-delayed all important East West link is now back on the table as the High Court last week dismissed appeals by Forest and Bird and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei but there is not mention of the link in this report.”

The consented East West link project includes a four-lane road between the Neilson Street interchange at SH20 and the Mt Wellington interchange on SH1, connections to local roads in Onehunga and Penrose, cycleways and work on the foreshore, headlands and wetlands.  

Mr Aitken said there was also no mention of upgrades to other strategic arterial routes including Favona Road, Mangere which is a Level 1B freight route (second highest in priority) servicing 2021 transport on a 1960s road network.

“ATAP stands for Auckland Transport Alignment Project. Where is the alignment for the transport of material supplies? We have a long-term infrastructure deficit that needs addressing. It won’t go away by ignoring it.

“The increased freight for all the housing development alone with be significant. Houses don’t just pop up. Housing development timelines of five years will become seven years if we can’t efficiently transport the materials there.

“The ATAP report caters for a portion of what is needed, namely commuter traffic. But that is what the Government focuses on all the time. There is not any recognition in here of the stuff that keeps people alive and houses them.

“This is good spending on commuter and leisure travel but not spending on the infrastructure deficit for freight – which is real.”

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