Lee Blasts Joyce Over CBD Link
Auckland Council transport commitete chair Mike Lee today labelled transport minister Steven Joyce’s thinking “fairly basic small-town red neck stuff -standard roads first and pro urban-sprawl.”
Writing on his site, the former ARC chair said Joyce’s hands were all over the plan to change Auckland local government and the government was expecting that their man John Banks and his government-friendly ‘affordable progress’ policies was going to win.
“As it turned out Banks crashed and burned and it was Len Brown with a visionary manifesto very much based around rail projects who won a resounding mandate from Aucklanders.
“With Plan A now around the government’s ankles, the government has gone to ‘Plan B’. ‘Plan B’ is to delay any new rail projects for as long as possible by refusing to fund them. Plan B was in evidence during the Auckland Council swearing-in ceremony when the new Mayor, councillors and a crowded Town Hall audience of leading citizens was subjected to an embarrassingly obvious lecture from the Prime Minister about how important it was for the new Auckland Council to spend 18 months completing a ‘spatial plan’ before embarking on any major infrastructural projects like CBD Rail and rail to the airport.
“Let me correct that – I should say ‘rail infrastructural projects’ – obviously the government would be unlikely to be calling for a freeze on road projects.”
He said that the transport minister, resorting to Plan B now Len Brown was mayor, was trying to pour scorn on the business case while blinkered about the road Lee hiuself famously coined the phrase the “Holiday Highway” even though it has been given a 0.4 cost benefit rating.
“It would seem that why the Minister has become so emotional about the CBD rail link (which clearly he doesn’t especially care for one way or the other), is that the rail link has become inextricably entangled with something the Minister really does care for – the Puhoi to Wellsford road project – aka ‘the Holiday Highway’.
“Clearly the CBD rail link, which at around $2 billion is about the same cost as the Holiday Highway, has become in Joyce’s mind the unwelcome – even dreaded Doppelgänger of his much favoured Puhoi to Wellsford roading project.”
Mike Lee says history is repeating itself
Noting this feels like history repeating itself, Mike Lee says if the National government wants to be re-elected next year it will have to concede that unlike the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway with its BCR of 0.4 – the CBD Rail Link does stack up.
“The National Government would dearly love to kill it off – but if they are not careful what comes roaring out of Auckland’s underground rail link could end up running down the National government. ”
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