Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says it will be decades before the road toll drops substantially:
The Government announced last month it would invest $1.4 billion in road safety upgrades over the next three years in an effort to reduce the road toll, which ended at 382 for last year.
But Genter says while she expects the number of deaths to come down over the next few years, it will be decades before the number drops significantly. . .
But National’s associate transport spokesperson, Brett Hudson, said the public should get more for the amount invested.
“The immediate question is: What do we get for that $1.4b?
“Is the associate minister saying these things won’t save lives? Are they [the Coalition Government] prioritising that money in the right place, or do they not have confidence in what they can achieve?
“If we’re spending $1.4 billion but it’s going to take decades [to substantially reduce the road toll], the associate minister seems to be saying that $1.4b isn’t actually effective.
“Then shouldn’t she actually be doing something that is?”. . .
Putting fuel tax into roading improvements instead of cycle lanes and public transport would help.
Getting people off roads and onto bikes, buses and trains would reduce the road toll but most goods have to be transported by road, and cycle lanes and public transport are only the answer in some routes in some cities.
Like all people who live in the country, most of my driving is on the open road, from home to town. In spite of the increase in population in our district, I can still do the return journey of nearly 40 kilometres without seeing more than a very few other vehicles until I get to the main road on the outskirts of Oamaru.
But major roads are much busier.
The state highways I use most often are north to Christchurch, south to Dunedin and west to Wanaka. All of them have far more traffic than there used to be and because of that every trip takes longer than it used to.
Longer trips with more traffic are more dangerous, especially when most of them are on two-lane roads with few passing lanes and without median barriers.
Why has Genter put reducing the road toll sooner into the too-hard basket when part of the solution is simple?
Redirecting money from cycle lanes and trains back into widening the roads, and adding passing lanes and median barriers would make more roads safer, sooner.