Infrastructure boost for Wellington Region a green light for region rail - next stop: hybrid trains
Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council Daran Ponter says the $1.35bn infrastructure announcement by government today is a good boost for the region, a solid green light for getting regional passenger rail moving and that the next stop would be securing a funding package for hybrid trains.
The $211 Million rail package funds most of the track improvements put to government in a recent business case for regional rail from Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Council. The next step is to sit down with government and secure urgent funding for new Wellington region hybrid trains to stop passengers being packed like sardines within the next five years, says Chair Ponter.
Population growth in the Wellington region has accelerated much faster than forecast over the last five years according to census data which shows an increase of 35,000 people against an initial forecast of 24,000.
The state of the art hybrid trains would run on electricity from overhead power wires, switching to alternative energy sources north of Waikanae and Upper Hutt improving customer experience and increasing service frequency on the Wairarapa and Manawatu corridors, says Chair Ponter.
Chair Ponter also welcomed news of the $817m four lane State Highway 1 upgrade from Otaki to north of Levin, safety improvements for State Highway 58, and the $258m green light for the Melling Interchange development.
Riverlink and the Melling interchange is a huge flood protection project right on the door-step of the Lower Hutt CBD. This funding will ensure that the residents and businesses of the Lower Hutt valley can keep their feet dry for generations to come, while being a huge catalyst for transforming the CBD area and better integrating public transport, cycling and walking, says Chair Ponter.
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