5 Dec 2019

Wellington looks to accelerate a multi-billion-dollar plan to fix its traffic woes

7:07 pm on 5 December 2019

Wellington's regional and city councils are to consider bringing forward funding to accelerate progress of the multi-billion-dollar plan to fix Wellington's transport congestion woes.

Traffic backed up in Wellington after train wagons derailed yesterday.

Traffic backed up on a Wellington motorway in July. Photo: RNZ / Rob Dixon

The $6.4 billion dollar Let's Get Wellington Moving plan (LGWM) aims to ease the Capital's congestion woes by building rapid transit from the city to airport, improving public transport and cycleways and easing traffic choke points on arterial routes.

The plan is a partnership between Wellington City Council, Wellington Regional Council and the Transport Agency (NZTA), with funding to be split roughly 40-60 between the councils and central government.

The two councils are meeting separately next week to vote on a new relationship - moving from a basic agreement to a more detailed blueprint for how they will work together on the plan.

They will also consider bringing forward funding for the next phase of the programme, with Wellington City's share is set to increase by $15.8 million to $18.2m over two years, while the regional council will top up its contribution by an additional $8m - taking its contribution to $11.5m.

The NZTA Board approved $66.2m from the National Land Transport Fund for the next phase in July.

This phase includes business case investigations that, when complete, will help to determine the route and type of rapid transit system to be built from the railway station through the southern suburbs to the airport.

They will also help pick the preferred options for State Highway improvements at the bottleneck at the Basin Reserve and for an extra Mount Victoria tunnel.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said getting council agreement on funding the next stage will enable business cases to be completed, which will in turn unlock central government funding for construction.

At the meeting next week the councils will also vote on whether improvements to bus priority and walking and cycling on key routes will be funded and delivered in the LGWM package.

Wellington's new mayor Andy Foster said he met with Mr Twyford and the regional council chair last week about accelerating the plan.

"Accelerated action includes delivering a range of engineering and safer speed initiatives to make our central city more people friendly, and delivering bus priority on key routes city-wide to address major delays which currently undermine the reliability and efficiency of the bus service."

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