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Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere talks big with his latest campaign promises

Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere talks big with his latest campaign promises
Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere.

Mayoral Candidate John Tamihere says he wants to replace the superstructure of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to create a new two tier design that will include rail lines, new lanes for cars and a walkway and cycleway.

But there’s a catch, he says Auckland Council's not going to pay for it, the Government will.

Tamihere says if elected Mayor he would also prioritise the Penlink road, a proposed alternative route between the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and State Highway 1 at Redvale. Construction of the project was expected to start within the next decade.

“These are projects of national significance, these are major issues we are talking about. But the longer these things aren’t done the worse it gets for Auckland. So as the Mayor I’m going to have to say to the Government, sort your act out.”

Tamihere says Auckland needs a new harbour crossing and coupled with the Penlink road it will get Auckland moving.

“A new 10 vehicle lane harbour crossing, which will carry cars, rail, pedestrians and cyclists can be completed within six years on the existing bridge piers, replacing the existing bridge,” he says.

“There will be minimal disruption to traffic. My team have looked at overseas structures and costs and it is very doable.”

While he says the Penlink Highway will bring much needed relief to North Shore motorists.

Funding options?

He says the Auckland Harbour Bridge work and the Penlink project could both be funded out of the revised Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), which was announced by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff in April last year. It will see $28 billion invested in the city's transport system over the next decade.

Under the proposal the Government would contribute $18 billion through the National Land Transport Fund ($16.3 billion), City Rail Link ($1.4 billion) and Crown Infrastructure Partners ($0.36 billion). While the Auckland Council would contribute $10 billion in funding through rates, development contributions and borrowing ($8.45 billion), plus the Regional Fuel Tax ($1.5 billion). 

Projects currently with committed funding under ATAP include the City Rail Link, the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway, additional electric trains, Manukau-Papakura motorway widening, Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) and the Northern Busway extension to Albany. 

While new projects include the Auckland light rail project, Panmure to Botany Eastern Busway, Airport-Puhinui state highway upgrade, a revised East-West Link, electrifying the rail network to Pukekohe, the Penlink toll road, Albany-Silverdale bus improvements and enhanced walking and cycle ways.

NZTA's work in progress

A spokesperson for the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says there is already work underway looking at the feasibility of different options to address the Auckland Harbour Bridge problem. The bridge has already reached its capacity and with the projected traffic growth future heavy vehicle restrictions will be required.

“We’ve been looking at new connections across the Waitemata Harbour and we’ve got something coming up on that.”

And they say while the Penlink Road will no doubt receive funding from the NZTA it is an Auckland Transport (AT) led project.

AT spokesman Mark Hannan says work on the Penlink project will be dictated to by the Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan 2018-2028 (RLTP) and Auckland Council financial constraints.

But coming up with the a new Auckland harbour crossing isn’t new and has been looked at before in a bid to address the city’s gridlock. 

An NZTA briefing paper from September last year to Twyford and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter looked at the feasibility of a new harbour tunnel linking the Auckland CBD with the North Shore. It outlined the three main options, do nothing, build a new harbour crossing with light rail and road access, or build a harbour crossing for light rail only. But even if it is given the green light, work wasn't expected to start until the 2030s.

Twyford declined to comment for this story.

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You spelt sales wrong

Grand visions but how doable.
Lets hope his name doesn't get added to the ''if only we had listened'' list that includes Sir Dove Myer Robinson.

Dove Myer Robinson was smart, and quite prescient. Why the association?

Pretty sure he wanted light rail at a cost of 12 million but everybody poo pooed the idea.
If only.

... yes , he had a vision for what Orc Land needed .. .

Now , we've reached a parlous state where we have to fix the shambles inaction has bequeathed us ...

... well done JT , for having some vision for the city ... Orc Landers now have a clear voting choice , the smart one , and the goofy alternative ...

This man needs to be stopped in his tracks before it's too late. This kind of grandiose thinking is exactly the sort of nonsense that Donald Trump promised and John Tamaki has emerged as a complete light weight. How he exactly plans on delivering this project is the stuff of fantasy, let alone the devastating impact that an 18 lane harbour bridge would have on the city. Widening the motorway to accommodate these plans would cost billions of dollars alone. Christine Fletcher has lost all remaining credibility for supporting him.

This guy is a narcissistic twat.

Yeah recipe for disaster.

I learned a lot from Tamihere about the plight of urban Maori and how democracy does not always have a lot going for it for minorities, but he can be a bit of reckless blowhard at times.

What a joker, so he's going to cancel just about every transport project in Auckland to pay for a new bridge and penlink or is he going to majic up an extra $10 billion?

And how are cars going to get to this new bridge? He knows surely that current Nzta modelling shows an additional harbour crossing actually makes congestion worse, so 10 laneing the Northern, southern and spaghetti Junction? Hope he can magic up another 30 billion.

Nutter ! ............ God help us if he is elected

There are 4 lanes approaching harbour bridge from south. There are four lanes approaching from north. He is simply saying divert one direction via one level and another direction via a higher level e.g double decker bridge. Very doable with a bit of vision.

He's got 18 lanes on his bridge. There are no vehicle lanes on the upper deck, but there are 4 rail lines. So do we take away 4 general traffic lanes from the north and four lanes from the south, to run the trains on? So 10 vehicle lanes on the bridge into 2 on the land?

Remember the busway only has bus lanes for 40% of it's length, so you can't just chuck two of those rail lines onto the busway, you need to travel down the motorway to get to the busway first.

This concept is uncosted absurdity.

The proper thing to do is introduce congestion tolls to manage the demand.

Build a wall.

.. and send them the bill for the cost of it ..

That does it. Game over. Go home, John.
Auckland doesn't have the money or time for such nutty ideas.