Desperate Mayor chokes on his bus fumes

Mayor Brown is fast running out of logical and rational reasons why the exorbitant $3-4 billion city rail tunnel should be built.

With no cash in council coffers due to the staggering debt levels it has fallen into Mayor Brown thinks the rest of New Zealand should pick up the tab for the tunnel through Government funding.

The Government knows the cost benefit analysis is flawed and for $4b it can get a lot more for its money in other projects that benefit more than the 6,000 council workers the rest of the CBD occupants of Auckland.

So it wants genuine rail patronage growth to justify that rail is working and that the expenditure is needed. Because the rail network isn’t overloaded now and is working fine.

Council has for sometime projected a doomsday scenario where congested rail will be over crowded and bogged down by the current terminal use – thus a ‘through link’ is needed.

But who is buying that scenario?

By Council’s own predictions the CBD – which accounts for approximately 16% of workers in Auckland – will only grow by 2% in 20 years. So where is the need?

Brown has tried everything to get funding to no avail. Now in a desperate attempt he states that ‘bus fumes’ are the issue and this spending $3-4 billion to cut back on bus fumes is the answer. Stupidly Fanshawe St is quoted – yet all buses on Fanshawe St go to places the rail doesn’t go to. So they will still be there Mr Brown after a tunnel is built. ??

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has seized on pollution from diesel buses as ammunition for early government funding of a $2.86 billion underground railway.

He told a rail industry conference in the city yesterday that the project, to which the Government has promised to contribute half the cost but not until 2020, was needed to combat rising pollution from more buses streaming into central Auckland.

“Unless we get the City Rail Link [CRL] in place, take stress off our bus lanes, give our communities greater access to the rail network … we are going to see higher levels of pollution in our downtown area as we have to feed more buses on to congested roads,” Mr Brown said.

A study by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research with scientists from the University of Auckland and AUT University found that air at the bottom of the Queen St valley risks failing World Health Organisation standards designed to prevent respiratory and heart disease.

Customs St, used by hundreds of buses a day, was found to have the highest nitrogen dioxide diesel vehicle emissions among 62 city sites despite being within 200m of the waterfront and its sea breezes.

And pollution – what one can’t see the pollution from trains – it’s there – in the form of electricity generation. Buses to coal plants. Take your pick.

Len Brown has had enough trips to China to know what real air pollution looks like, and the bottom of Queen Street is the sort of air that could be bottled and sent to China as “fresh air” considering they usually bite their air rather than breathe it.

 

– NZ Herald

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