Auckland Mayor celebrates Government's agreement to support rail loop; says it is 'Auckland's biggest transport advance since the Harbour Bridge'

Auckland Mayor celebrates Government's agreement to support rail loop; says it is 'Auckland's biggest transport advance since the Harbour Bridge'

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the Government’s agreement to help fund the NZ$2.86 billion City Rail Link (CRL) represents a major step forward for Auckland and is the biggest advance for the city's transport since the Harbour Bridge.

“I am delighted the government has agreed to support this project,” Len Brown said.

The Auckland Council has been seeking half of the cost of the rail link from the Government. But while confirming today that it would help support the link, the Government did not indicate whether it would contribute half of the cost. Also, it  wants the project delayed till 2020, while the Auckland Council had planned to start it in 2015/16. Previously the Government had been less than tepid on the project. The deal will be formally announced by the Prime Minister John Key on Friday.

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said the Government's change of mind on the rail link project was a "major win for Aucklanders".

"John Key and National have spent the last five years actively blocking the city rail link. This is a massive, but welcomed, u-turn from them,” she said

“The Government has thrown the kitchen sink at stopping the rail link. They concocted bogus reports to undermine the economic case for the rail link and withheld funding for it despite strong support from Aucklanders for the project."

Brown said that the Government had now "given us a huge challenge to respond to".

"Along with the electrification of rail, the CRL will be the biggest advance in Auckland transport since the Harbour Bridge.

“Building the CRL is my number one priority as Mayor. It will be a vital piece of infrastructure for Auckland’s economy, and will enable us to better meet the challenges of a growing city.

“The CRL will double the capacity of the existing rail network and slash travel times.

“Much of the preparatory work is already underway, including protecting and preparing the route, electrification of the rail network and the purchase of new electric trains.

“We now need to focus on working closely with the government to agree the exact timing and to keep the project moving forward at pace.

“Removing the cul-de-sac at Britomart will enable our city’s rail network to move at least twice as many passengers as we do now. Travel times from the West and the South will be slashed by up to half an hour.

“The economic benefits should not be understated. We expect the working population of Auckland’s city centre to double by 2041. This will lead to gains in productivity that will more than double the city centre’s economy.

“In this context, being able to move people into and around the city more easily is critical to recognising our economic potential. And it’s critical to our ability to remain internationally competitive for jobs and investment.

“I want to acknowledge Aucklanders for being very clear in their support for this project,” Brown said.

The City Rail Link will allow trains to pass through Britomart without having to reverse out as they currently do now. The route will pass through three downtown stations – Aotea, Karangahape and Newton , making its way through Albert Street, across Karangahape Rd to upper Symonds Street linking to the Western line and the Southern line.

In addition to the CRL, Auckland has largely completed the electrification of the rail network and will begin the introduction of 57 new Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains later this year.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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OK, it's an inevitable reality but we'll delay it.
 
Epitaph of the Key years, in retrospect?

This is not an election bribe...it's not...it just isn't ok...this is a govt decision that targets infrastructure to boost the competitive productivity across Auckland and as such cannot be called a bribe for votes....right?

It's a Doctor Feelgood promise that they wont keep because they wont be around to keep it - get the benefit from the spin now

This is a mistake that all Aucklanders will pay for forever,.  and clearly National does not want to grapple with this during this term , (nor the next) , so the ball is kicked into touch for 5 years.
It will then be a Greenlabournewzealandfirstmanamaori problem .... God help us.
In the meantime with inadequate spend on road improvement in Auckland  , things will just get worse

Read the detail on the Waterview Tunnel Project. They're importing a massive, huge, monstrous, expensive tunneling machine from Germany(?) specially for the job .. why not dig the rail loop tunnel while the machine is here .. for crying out loud

Very smart political move. Now the Nat mayoral candidate won't have to fight the left-right battle on this issue. Get your guy (or girl) in office - then put the port assets on the block first under the guise of setting up a local "infrastructure fund" to pay for it.
 
Ironically, this is Len's Waterloo.

An astute observation Kate and right on the button!

The pattern is obvious from Christchurch where the Nats also tried to pressure CCC to divest its port and airport shares to pay for the rebuild. So the formula is 'agree to a loopy proposal and use it as a lever to force sales of public assets'.
 
The exquisite perfection in Chrstchurch is that the government itself got to dream up the loopy proposals (convention centre and covered stadium) without any help from the locals.

By pushing this out until 2020 is it not possible the government is actually kicking it into touch, but in a way that lets Len Brown claim victory?

Nah, why would they want to throw Len an olive branch at this time. Expect they'll announce 'their' candidate for Mayor next week.

change the anthem from "god defends NZ" to 'god will fund NZ"

Maybe it's a coincidence; or maybe it's time for all election goodies to come out of the hat, but I wonder if Christchurch getting some new government funded toys. wouldn't have played so well in Auckland while its transport issues were perceived to be being ignored, and that occurred to our somewhat regional/ Canterbury centric government. 
Does Wellington have a wish list? Earthquake readying perhaps? 

This is damn good news.
Never would have happened with sleazy old Banks.

Yeah but where is the second harbour crossing?? That's more necessary than the rail loop and doesn't even figure on the mayor's to do list. Bet it would be different if he lived on the Shore. Oh that's right, we have the bus lanes which is supposed to make us happy and shut us up.

The rail link to the shore would need the western entry into britomart to work, so this project is a stepping stone to enabling the link to the shore

Yes Auckland does need this, but
1 The price estimate is grossly inflated.  It does not in any way compare to the $220m odd 10 km 10m diameter Manapouri tailrace tunel through almost impossibly hard granite or the planed $170m 10 km bus Fiordland/Queenstown tunnel.  Admittedly there are other costs such as property purchases, stations etc, but having perused the breakdown of the estimates it is clear that they are grossly padded.  (easy to deliver a project on budget when it is public money)
2 They need to run the Auckland rail system a whole lot more comptently that they do now.  Our own observations are that it has deterioted badly over the last three years.  When we shifted to the Karaka area a train to Newmarket cost about $3.50  and took 35 minutes.  You had trouble geeting a seat.  Now it costs over $7 and takes about just under an hour.  The reliability of the service has gone out the window with trains not turning up at all and others very late.  Yesterday it was about 25 minutes late.  As a result of the shocking service passenger numbers have clearly dropped.  You have no trouble getting a seat now.  I suppose that at least is not all bad at a selfish level.
3 If the country is going to invest all this money in Auckland's growth it is fair to ask what is Auckland going to contribute to the countries ecconomy.  And by that I do not mean raising the GNP by capturing more of the ecconomy and clicking the ticket without contributing anything real and meaningful.  What I want to know, is  Auckland going to significantly increase its present small contribution to the countries exports or significantly increase manufacturing to replace some of our imports.  If not, the countries finances are such that we cannot afford to indulge further growth of Auckland.  (Think of the burden that Auckland places on our demand for borrowed foreign capital. As a nation we need to see a healthy return in the form of increased, repeatable annual income from overseas)
 

Chris-m some good points here. It does not seem very efficient to have 75% of NZ population and economy up one end of 2 long islands.  eg Freight  movements etc trucks  nearly empty heading North,chocka heading South

Which city of a similar size to Auckland has recently grown by the equivalent of 1+ Christchurch? How did it manage that growth?
 
Whereas Auckland thinks it can add 1 Dunedin in three years and is clearly dreaming Perth WA has actually added more than a Christchurch in the last 20 years. A lot of the growth was enabled by plonking a dirty great multi-lane highway due north from the central city with an electric rail line as a median divider. As it needs to, it keeps extending the transport in a straight line and adding cities like City of Joondalup on the end. Public transport is arranged in a herringbone with buses collecting from residential areas and dropping off at train stations.
 
Is Perth an Australasian Paris or New York?. Hell no. It's not pretty but the people who want to live in or near Perth can.
 
The Auckland rail loop will not enable 1 single extra person to live in Auckland but it will add $1.5bn to the  ratepayers' tab on top of the $2bn odd required to connect up all the new subdivisions forecast in the Housing Accord. Good luck, Aucklanders.