ORC calls for transport integration to save roads

Ella Lawton
Ella Lawton
The Otago Regional Council wants the Government to better integrate rail, shipping and roading so it can reduce heavy traffic damage on Otago roads.

At a council meeting yesterday the regional council discussed a joint submission from the council and Environment Southland on the Government Policy Statement for Land Transport 2018.

The policy sets out the Government's expenditure priorities from its National Land Transport Fund over the next 10 years.

Part of the submission encouraged better integration of road, rail and coastal shipping, as this would ''lower the impacts, including road trauma, of heavy traffic on roading''.

This included investigating making KiwiRail an approved organisation under the Land Transport Management Act. At present it was difficult to investigate, plan, fund and deliver integrated solutions, especially involving rail, the submission said.

The council also encouraged policy changes to help pedestrians by putting a ''greater emphasis'' on walking.

The council discussed the submission of the South Island Regional Transport Committee Chairs Group, which the regional council was involved in creating.

Cr Ella Lawton said the submission focused completely on ''motorised travel'', which surprised her.

''We continue to submit on assumptions the future is completely dependent on oil.

''With new technology there are new opportunities for the electrification of vehicles.

''It's a shame that it's not at all discussed at this level.''

It was a shame the submission did not acknowledge there could be an ''alternative future'' for transport, she said.

''In the Queenstown-Lakes area a huge amount of money is going into roading and not alternative options.''

The community from the ''grass roots'' was ''crying out for alternatives'', Cr Lawton said.

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