Parliament has recently been legislating measures to fast-track infrastructure projects as an economic booster in the wake of Covid-19.
With all infrastructure, particularly roading projects, consent delays are costly and take considerable time.
The Government’s fast track consenting bill was passed to allow for a shortened process where panels are set up and can approve projects in about two months.
Legislation like this is an admission that the RMA is broken because every time there is a natural disaster or crisis, Parliament passes special laws.
The Eastern Busway and Reeves Road flyover would have benefitted significantly from fast tracked consenting.
That’s why when the law was being considered I put up amendments in Parliament to fast track a range of projects in east Auckland.
The National Party failed to get an amendment to the Bill in on time for the Eastern Busway but fortunately, they still were able to vote for the proposal I put forward.
This was not successful with the coalition government voting down all proposed additions to the Bill.
However the Government has set up a process in the legislation for new projects to be added as fast track projects in a second tranche at a later stage.
I’m pleased to have secured a commitment from the Transport Minister Phil Twyford to have the Ameti Eastern Busway considered as one of these second tranche projects.
I have been lobbying the Transport Minister on east Auckland transport issues.
His office has advised me that Mr Twyford raised AMETI with David Parker, the Environment Minister, to see if the Busway could be fast-tracked.
I have been told Mr Twyford himself “is very keen to consider the AMETI busway as part of the second tranche of projects”.
Transport in our community is always the number one challenge we face.
The Eastern Busway has now started being constructed so if we can successfully convince the Government to fast track the Ti Rakau Drive portion of the project, that will enable it to be completed faster.
I will keep working constructively with the Government to press forward with projects that benefit Botany.
Jami-Lee Ross is the MP for Botany