The Mayor’s proposed ten-year budget includes $230 million for transport projects to solve congestion issues and address environmental impact.
“For a city that is compact and reasonably easy to navigate, we currently spend too much time sitting in traffic and talking about traffic,” says the Mayor.
“Wellingtonians want to get from point A to point B efficiently and via a variety of different modes of transport of their choosing.”
Wellington’s population is predicted to grow by between 50,000 and 80,000 by 2043 and, to make the transport network reliable and sustainable, the Mayor says there needs to be a balance across public transport, cars, walking and cycling.
He says $107 million in capital expenditure and $11 million in operating expenses has been set aside to respond to the final result of Let’s Get Wellington Moving, which is due to be released in June.
“The final feedback we receive on Let’s Get Wellington Moving will tell us whether Wellingtonians are in favour of things like priority routes for mass transit, and a second Mt Victoria tunnel.”
A further $4 million per annum has been budgeted for transport network resilience over ten years.
Transport Strategy and Operations portfolio holder Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman says it is important to get the right incentives in place to encourage people to use alternative modes of transport.
“We want to give people the option to walk, cycle or take public transport as alternatives to driving, wherever they can,” he says. “For people who have no alternative to driving, we want to make sure the experience is as painless as possible.
“This, of course, includes business travel, servicing and deliveries. Congestion is not just inconvenient, but also imposes big costs on business and on people who have to drive as part of their jobs – tradespeople for example.”
The proposed transport budget includes funding for the city’s cycling network, which has ongoing improvements budgeted at an average of $7 million in capital funding per year for the next ten years.
Public Transport, Cycling and Walking portfolio holder Councillor Sarah Free says Wellington has always had high numbers of residents walking and using public transport, and that part of getting more people to feel comfortable riding their bikes is the continuation of investment in good cycling facilities.
“We want to keep our investment going and extend the network to parts of the city we have not got to so far,” she says.
The first four years of the proposed budget includes walking and cycling connections in the Eastern suburbs and the Miramar town centre, and the latter years include the Southern suburbs, connecting Newtown, Berhampore and Island Bay.
The draft Ten Year Plan document will be discussed by the Council on 7 March, and formal consultation will begin on 15 April.