More humour at Williamson’s expense

This one courtesy of The Standard

12 thoughts on “More humour at Williamson’s expense

  1. Right you are, Lady P.

    National’s obsession with building more and more roads, whether tolled or not, is not going to address either of the issues of traffic congestion or greenhouse gas emissions, and is plain stupidity in the face of fuel prices that will inevitably increase as oil becomes more difficult to find and extract.

    The Green Party has the real transport solution, which is investment in public transport infrastructure that will give commuters an affordable choice of leaving their cars at home.

  2. Toad, Have you read the NZ Transport Authority’s new study on preparing for peak oil Managing transport challenges when oil prices rise Research Report 357 – August 2008? It doesn’t support the contention that investing public transport infrastructure is the real transport solution .

    Click to access 357.pdf

    I think you might recognise the writing style and the general thrust of the report from some of frogblog’s threads over the past 12 months. The emphasis on removing parking subsidies is an argument I associate with the name of one the reports authors.
    If it’s who I think it is then I will give myself a small pat on the back for contributing positively in a small way to the recommendation to use parking space rates instead of ordinary property rates to pay for road maintenance, and to the emphasis on eliminating single use zoning. Not original ideas of mine but areas where I was able to direst Stu to some good resources. It’s always nice to kow when you’ve been a useful sounding board for ideas.

    PS, since I’m about to be made redundant through yet another restructure I’ll be aiming to find a new job within easy cycling distance from home. Ironicly the cycleway would not have built if the expressway had not been built even though the corridor had been designated as a future expressway since 1964. I wonder how many other cycleways could be built on designated transport corridors now, instead of waiting for the roads to be built? I suppose that depends on whether the designated land has actually been acquired.

  3. It was a bit simplistic for me to say that public transport infrastructure is the solution, but the report does suggest it is one of the solutions. From the Executive Summary:

    Infrastructure Investment outlines recommended supply side responses to higher oil prices, including greater emphasis on the quality rather than the capacity of the road network. Land use and pricing responses are expected to generate increased demand for alternative modes, which should be reflected in infrastructure priorities

    And yes, I do know several of the authors, including the one to whom you refer.

  4. As a Green, I’m a fan of having polluters pay. Having those who are using natural resources pay the costs encourages them not to use them.

    Which makes me a supporter of toll roads. Because they make people using a road pay for the cost of it, instead of giving a huge hidden subsidy to car drivers in the form of roads that my taxes pay for.

    I’m also a supporter of public transport. But that’s *not* a separate issue. If people driving on roads actually had to pay the cost of the roads then we’d see a lot more use of public transport.

    So I may be the only person in the country who liked Williamson’s idea of charging people $50 a week to commute across Auckland.

  5. Sean, the difficulty with your analysis is that public transport doesn’t currently have the capacity, frequency, routing, or reliability to give many people a real choice.

    People can’t get on buses and trains where they don’t run, and won’t get on them if it costs over $10 and takes over an hour to travel just a few kilometres.

    I’m all for polluter pays, but National’s policy of building more and more roads and tolling them will hit the pockets of poorer people who have no choice but to commute by car.

  6. Toad, It’s good to see that we have found common ground. IMHO the best thing about the report is that it highlights how many contributing factors there are to emergence of our car-centric lifestyles and multi-faceted the responses are going to have to be.

    The nature of both AGW and peak oil means we need to assess the multitude of responses primarily on the speed with which they can be implemented and the bang for the buck. The size of the contribution of each measure is irrelevant once those two points have been assessed.

    On those two criteria my order of priority is:

    1) encouraging car pooling and trip chaining – it seems that high fuel prices have been a good encouragement but the facebook generation really needs something like a txt based ride-share community to make ridesharing safe and trendy/fun. An important prerequisite for this type of approach is to stop thinking in terms of car mpg and start thinking in terms of occupant mpg – we don’t have to wait for someone to invent a 100mpg car because most cars can already do that.

    2) encouraging walking and cycle as the dominant mode of transport on residential streets – either with living streets or the velo40 concept. If you’ve ever seen a graph of cold-start emissions or fuel consumption you’ll understand why I rank this so highly.

    3) Implement Maurice’s tolling proposal from the 90s, sans the SOE component. GPS tolling captures both travel and parking demand and can even allow parking kerbside parking revenue to be linked to spending on street/streetscape enhancements. Such a system could also be used for PT fares and even cycleway users when there are enough of them to start behaving like the motorists of today.

    The last one won’t be cheap but the tech might not be good enough just yet but it tackles the two biggest road pricing problems – free parking and peak capacity subsidised by off-peak travellers.

  7. Toad,

    You say you favour pollution taxes. And I believe you.

    But the first time we see a sign that the next National govt might institute a type of pollution tax (in the form of road tolls), you’re repeatedly mocking them for it on a Green blog. So you can see why I’m uncomfortable about that.

    Your satirical posts seem to just be saying “National = road tolls and road tolls = bad”. I think the medium of satire isn’t a good one for expressing your real views, which seem a lot more subtle than that. We’re both well aware that the real problem is that National is focussed on a transport strategy of just building new roads.

    Thinking about this discussion with you has brought me more and more to appreciate the important way the Green Party’s policies work together. Pollution taxes (notably, taxing carbon) would do the same as road tolls if it was just a carbon tax and nothing else. That’s why ithe Greens policies include pollution taxes AND more public transport AND cutting the income tax rate to zero for the first 5000 earned.

  8. Sean, if National were proposing to impose road tolls to fund public transport intrastructure I might be less inclined to mock them.

    But they are not. They are proposing to implement them to build more roads.

  9. Toad, There are three options:

    1) fund them from tolls
    2) fund them from increased petrol taxes
    3) fund them from the roading revenue currently being invested in PT infrastructure by repealing the LTMA.

    In effect the tolls are funding PT infrustructure.

    I favour option 1 for Waterview and TG and option 2 to fund Alpurt/Warkworth and the any of the Waikato improvements. It is obscene for any government to charge a road toll to reduce the road toll. Lest we forget that that is the most pressing land transport in rural areas, a problem that PT cannot effectively address. It’s a different story in urban areas, but we mustn’t ever be blinded to the fact that half our travel occurs outside urban areas.

  10. Kevyn, I live in Auckland.

    I accept that this is largely an Auckland problem.

    I accept that the rest of the country should not have to pay for Auckland’s problem.

    As for Waterview, I think it is unecessary in the foreseeable future. A railservice between Avondale and Onehunga, with an Airport loop, would avoid the need for any new road there.

    Alpurt is trickier. Extending the Auckland Western Line passenger rail to Warkworth or Wellsford won’t work as a commuter service, because the travel times are too long to attract sufficient passengers.

    So I probably have to reluctantly agree with you on that one. I would love to see a way to fund the conversion of the Northern busway to rail, and its extension North to Wellsford and South under the Waitemata Harbour to Britomart, but can’t see how that can be funded to be a viable service in the immediate future.

  11. Toad, As an ex-Jafa, now Cantab, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who says what you say in you 2nd & 3rd sentences.

    ECan really needs to get it’s hands on Canterbury’s contributions to the LTF to get the greater Christchurch traffic catchment rail oriented while it’s still possible to do that. It should be relatively inexpensive to duplicate and electrify as far as Rolleston and Dunsandel since the RoW is wide enough. In fact it’s wide enough all the way to Ashburton but there’s the little problem of a mile wide river to cross. Still it could be done as very long passing bay between the rivers. Northwards is the big problem thanks to the Waimak and Kaiapoi crossings that have to be double tracked to provide a viable rail service. Perhaps the passenger rail could deviate at Belfast, along the m’way median, and use the vacant third lane footings on the motorway bridges?

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