In less than four weeks’ time, on Monday 20 July, the New Zealand Transport Agency’s appeal against the Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover begins.

What’s astonishing is that the Transport Agency’s obsession with building a flyover at the Basin Reserve, no matter the cost to the taxpayer, no matter how outdated, ugly and discredited urban flyovers are, is being conducted in the face of research the Transport Agency itself has carried out. It’s described in this report:

Death of the car: Why Generation Y is turning to public transport

and you can find the study itself here:

Public transport and the next generation (NZTA Research Report 569, June 2015)

Historic New Zealand light vehicle traffic forecasts vs actual growth (Source: MoT)

Historic New Zealand light vehicle traffic forecasts vs actual growth (Source: MoT)

The Transport Agency is supposed to be building transport infrastructure to meet future demand – so why does it continues to build motorways, flyovers and the other expensive nostrums of mid-twentieth-century transport planning, instead of spending money on public transport infrastructure for which there is a large and growing unmet demand?

One reason is that a Generation X Government with strong ties to the trucking industry is still committed to its $12 billion Roads of National Significance boondoggle. Another is that the New Zealand Transport Agency was created out of two bodies: Land Transport New Zealand (the policy part) and Transit New Zealand (the road-building part).

Ever since then, Transit has been the large, well-funded tail wagging the small policy dog. Because what Transit knows how to do is build roads, lots of roads, big expensive roads – and by golly, they’re not about to let some pointy-headed policy wonks and their inconvenient research studies stop them.

It seems that, like an addict who knows he or she should stop but wants just one more hit, the Transport Agency is incapable of saving itself from its roadbuilding addiction. So we’re staging an intervention to save NZTA from itself – and save an iconic part of Wellington from NZTA. Donate to help us bring this tragic flyover addiction to an end.