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Kapiti councillor backs call for more investment in trains, including electrification to Otaki

News from Kapiti Coast District Council
A Kāpiti Coast District Councillor has backed a call for greater investment in rail in the Wellington region.

Ōtaki Councillor and transport portfolio holder on the Kāpiti Coast District Council James Cootes says a proposal by the Wellington Regional Council for investment in a fleet of 15 electric hybrid trains and network upgrades would be welcomed by Ōtaki and the wider Kāpiti district. The electrification of the rail line to Ōtaki would also be welcomed.

The $415 million proposal requires significant funding from central government to proceed.

Mr Cootes says recent and future growth will place additional pressure on already stretched public transport services in Kāpiti and across the region.

“We’ve seen growth in Kāpiti in recent years and are expecting more,” Mr Cootes says. “The imminent opening of Transmission Gully and the Pekapeka to Ōtaki expressway will bring even more people to the area, and we are going to need a modern and resilient transport system if we are going to maximise the benefits and manage the risks of that growth.

“The limited public transport options for our communities is a significant disadvantage and reduces access to employment, health care, education and general well-being. As an employer I have seen first-hand how a lack of public transport options compared to other parts of the region can impact on opportunities.

“Investment is critical and with a long lead time for procurement and construction can’t come too soon.”

Mr Cootes says the Regional Council plan meets many government priorities including lifting well-being and providing alternatives to private cars, and is well-supported by neighbouring councils and other transport agencies.

“The government has committed to use its balance sheet and low interest rates to invest in infrastructure projects. This plan needs to be one of those projects,” Mr Cootes says.