Grant McLachlan has a great idea over at Stuff. Put buses and trucks onto the rail network. Brilliant. These routes are very straight and direct, but unused almost 99% of the time. We have the technology to separate and monitor trains so they don’t crash into each other, why not fit heavy load-bearing trucks and big buses to the lines?
Grant writes, “If New Zealand wants to optimise its transport network it needs to change its mindset.
I lived near the East Cape of the North Island last year. The forests planted after Cyclone Bola have matured and laden logging trucks rip up the southbound lane. Since the closure of the Gisborne-Napier railway due to an ‘unfeasible’ landslip, the southbound lane has noticeably deteriorated.
It is clear that the road user charges revenue paid by logging trucks isn’t being invested where those trucks are driven. Someone has also fudged their figures about the importance of rail to the region.
Back in 2005, National campaigned using blue and red billboards. National said that petrol taxes would be spent on roads while criticising Labour for wasting them on hip-hop tours. Today, National hiked petrol taxes to cover government debt – mostly wasted on pet projects like The Hobbit.
The figures speak for themselves. The Government collects over $2.5billion in road user charges and petrol levies every year. If you wade through the fudged figures, on average $1.2billion a year is targeted towards state highways and $250million on rail.”