Petrol is over $2.10 a litre. The price will keep rising both with the ever upward march of the price of crude and the falling NZ dollar. Already, motorists are responding. Road usage in Auckland has fallen 3%. It’s fair to believe it is falling elsewhere too. The only reasonable conclusion is that the number of vehicles on the road will keep edging down as the price of petrol continues to rise.
So, why the hell are we spending $3 billion on two huge new motorway projects? The Waterview Tunnel in Auckland and Transmission Gully in Wellington add capacity to the existing network even as capacity demand is falling. That’s insane.
Yes, there is still congestion on the motorways out of the cities. But the solution is to take more cars off the road. Imagine if we put that $3 billion into public transport instead we could build a world-leading transport infrastructure with numerous small, comfortable, quick buses and faster, electrified trains.
Both major parties are stuck in a past of cheap oil. Those days are not coming back; it’s time we had a transport plan for the future.
[PS. before the Righties get all excited – no, this $3 billion couldn’t pay for National’s tax cuts. A motorway is built once, tax cuts are forever.]