Report highlights 'considerable risks' of trying to get light rail from Auckland's CBD to airport in time for 2021 America's Cup & APEC Summit

Phil Goff cartoon by Jacky Carpenter.

By Jason Walls

A confidential report, prepared for Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, reveals the “considerable risks” of pushing through legislation accelerating the delivery of light rail to Auckland.

But Transport Minister Phil Twyford, who was given the report by the Mayor, is dismissing its findings and says it’s “highly likely” this legislation will come before Parliament regardless.   

Interest.co.nz has obtained the document, which provides a feasibility assessment for an accelerated delivery of light rail between the city and airport before the end of 2020.

In July last year, Goff requested that Auckland Transport (AT), which is owned by Auckland Council, prepare the report to assess the impact of the project being completed before both the America's Cup and the APEC summit in 2021.

He received it on October 1 last year.

But he chose not to share the report with Council members at the time. Interest.co.nz contacted a number of councillors, none of whom had seen or could recall seeing the report.

Some were shocked they were kept out of the loop of such a significant project – “it highlights a culture of exclusivity,” one says. Another says it’s “seriously concerning” it had not been made available to them.

This comes just days after nine Auckland Councillors wrote to the Mayor, expressing their “strong dissatisfaction” at the Mayor’s “non-inclusive” style of leadership, after being kept out of the loop of a report about a potential new Auckland waterfront stadium.

In response to queries from Interest.co.nz, the Mayor issued a statement to all Councillors on Friday regarding the light rail report.

“In July, as part of my regular catch up with AT, I was told they had already started work on the “what if” scenarios for light rail,” the email, obtained by Interest.co.nz, says.

“They had already established conditions if light rail was to be completed. This was part of the work they were doing in parallel to the work with the previous Government on the Bus vs Light rail to airport.”

He says by the time the report was completed, it was superseded by the intentions of the new Government to redo the Government Policy Statement and Auckland Transport Alignment Project.

“Therefore, the report was not presented to Auckland Council by AT.”

He says Councillors were made aware of the document by the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act department in February.

“As usual practice, the Councillors were welcome to receive the reports if they wanted it.”

Despite this, Interest.co.nz spoke to no Councillors that were aware of the report.

Goff’s Chief of Staff Nirupa George says the report was not circulated to Councillors at the time because of the change in Government and its new light rail strategy.

‘Considerable risks’

The report says an accelerated light rail programme would come with “considerable risks” including market capacity, complex structural engineering requirements, procurement timeframes, legislative decision-making processes and a potential cost blowout.

“There are no international examples of [light rail] being delivered within the proposed timescale that the AT and its advisers are aware of,” the report – Airport to City Light Rail Transit Acceleration Strategy – says.

Depending on the scale and scope of the programme, the report says the costs of the construction and rolling stock will be between $930 million and $1.205 billion.

“[These] costs do not include the potential cost premium that may be associated with accelerated delivery and adjustments are likely once design development, construction methodology and rolling stock requirements are finalised.”

It also says present market conditions indicate significant constraints in capacity within both New Zealand and global market for light rail, which could impact on the accelerated programme assumptions.

“This could have an impact on the ability to deliver on time and within budget – particularly in the construction and infrastructure sector relative to the various contract packages and timescales required.”

"It is not feasible to deliver LRT [Light Rail Transit] on the full Airport to City Centre corridor in time for the major events scheduled for 2021," the report says.

Accelerated delivery could be problematic when it comes to how the project is funded.

The light rail contract is open to a procurement process run by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

In May, the New Zealand Super Fund signalled its “strong interest” in the contract.

“Given the accelerated requirements, typical procurement timeframes do not appear possible to meet the required date of December 2020,” the report says.

A “bespoke procurement approach” will need to be agreed with Government to meet the accelerated in service delivery requirements.

This would mean the procurement would need to run in parallel with the construction elements to enable in service delivery requirements to be met, the report says.

But this would create a “number of significant” risks.

The project would appear less attractive to the international market which may “significantly impact bidding interests.”

It could also create a risk of significant gaps in project understanding and detail forming that will ultimately impact delivery, timescales, cost and project and operational outcomes.

Twyford not phased

But Twyford does not appear to be concerned about the report’s findings.

He says Mayor Goff did provide him with a copy of the report.

This is just “one report of many” he says, adding that it’s important not “to get hung up on one report that Auckland Council has done.”

Despite saying it’s “highly likely” the Government will introduce legislation accelerating the project, Twyford says it’s not his expectation for the project to be ready before the America’s Cup.

Given this, why would the Government look to accelerate legislation if Twyford has been briefed on the risks?

“Because it’s an important project,” he says.

“We’re a Government of change and we want to get on and make sure that we do something serious about Auckland’s congestion problems.

“We feel some urgency and wanted to get on and get cracking with the light rail project – it’s an important investment in Auckland’s growth and prosperity.”

Speaking to Parliament's Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee on Thursday, he was unable to provide a timeline on when he expected the project to be completed.

“The precise timing for that will be determined in the course of the business case being developed so I can’t give a date on that yet.”

Opposition Transport Spokesman Jami Lee-Ross says this is “poor process from Twyford."

“I don’t think the Minister should be proceeding with legislation to accelerate a transport project which will see cost premiums being paid – effectively taxpayers paying through the nose for light rail that he hasn’t even done a business assessment on yet.”

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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82 Comments

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Suppressed ! Why are we surprised - not. Congratulations to interest.co for the excellent sleuthing.

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What on earth is going on here. We are meant to be living in a democracy. Councillors are elected by rate payers to represent their interests. So if councillors are shut out from important information so too then are rate payers. So to state councillors are welcome to a report if they want them is disingenuous and a complete bastardisation of due process.Mr Goff was part of a Labour government that Richard Prebble described, I think quite correctly, as absolute control freaks, or similar. Mr Goff has not changed his spots. Sometimes when viewing him being interviewed his resemblance to Ms Clark is uncanny going on weird and vice versa. Appreciate if you can’t beat them, then join them but it’s almost as if some personality cloning has been undertaken, ie follow the leader and slavishly so.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/104618977/aucklands-public-transport-th...
At the end of this, AT are not responding to questions relating to Auckland being the third most expensive city for public transport.
It is too much for their spin doctors. They can't spin their way out of this!
This is one reason why I do not commute by public transport. Its not cheap at all.

It's like deja vu all over again!
"Sydney's George Street light rail a vanity 'toy' for politicians"
https://www.afr.com/business/transport/trains/sydneys-george-street-ligh... and https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/21/sydneys-light-rai...

Or you could look at the gold coast light rail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G:link

Over 1.74 million passengers used the Gold Coast Light Rail in its first 100 days after opening. More than five million paid trips were made in the first nine months of operation.[45] 6.6 million passengers were carried on the line in its first year, and total public transport usage on the Gold Coast - across buses and trams - increased by 25 percent.[46][47] In February 2016 the Queensland Government announced the ten million passenger milestone had been reached and noted that Cavill Avenue was the busiest station with 4,729 boardings a day.[48]

You assume it will be built . I do not think so.

Gold Coast light rail cost at least Au$60Million a kilometre
Once you build it you are not only up for debt servicing, running costs & maintenance but also total replacement of obsolete rail cars eventually.
I doubt the city council will ever receive the full cost analysis
This is a political decision so watch out rate payers you’ll be ultimately carrying the cost forever more
Auckland is 1.5 Million & to be remotely worthwhile you require a city pop of at least 5 Million for rapid transit systems and even then they lose money and must be subsidized everywhere
Meanwhile in China lots of jokes about Trump taking Putin’s advice to drop military exercises with South Korea
They cannot believe their luck This is great news in China

I have tried to think of a reason but nothing comes. Why if you spend a billion bucks on a project, is it any relevance APEC is coming. Given APEC is perhaps a week ?. And the project has implications for about a century.
Maybe some president would ride it ? mmmmh. No.
But maybe you could drop a comment about the project at some important cocktail party then. A billion to be able to make that comment is cheap -- if it's just the taxpayers.

Last time I looked, the people attending APEC weren’t that interested in taking public transport? They would rather take the Zil lanes

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And the global insignificance of the America’s cup has already been canvassed here. Yes there will be more visitors but hardly a flood. They will be well heeled, I can hardly see them crying out for a glorified tram to take them on a tour of mangere and dominion rd to get to their hotels. They too will be in the zil lanes with a nice driver. The whole thing is just cringeworthy and embarrassing

Don't forget Grant Dalton has a mansion on Vicky Ave DGZ and all his America’s Cup mates from different countries are likely to stay and house hunt in the area too ^^LOLdgz^^

Sorry, how is that “likely”? Don’t get it

DubleD just likes to include Remmers in each post
He’s a newbie
He aspired to live there whereas those of us who grew up there aspired to leave
It’s cold and frosty even on its northern slopes
Speaking of Dalts who kept the cup campaign running I salute him
I liked the America’s Cup in Burmuda a short flight from here with great climate albeit expensive
Great to see Emirates Team NZ utterly destroy Oracle
We have the Soccer World Cup 2026 that’s big news for about 5 minutes here just bragging

I'm liking how he signs his posts now "LOLdgz", reminds me that it really should be TrollDGZ, and to disregard everything he posts.

Haha, nice one

Oh phpplease I didn't even mention Burwood Cres and Arney Rd ^^LOLdgz^^

Spelling lessons required Dubzz
There’s after school remedial you could attend in Newmarket
Get your mom to take you perhaps

A lot of Aucklanders will head into the city to watch the cup. They have to get there somehow, they can't all drive.

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The tram from the airport? There’s already public transport to the city, why do we need a new $1bn tram for that?

Or maybe the tram from Mangere / Mangere Bridge / Onehunga / Hillsborough / Mt Roskill / Mt Eden?
Also the light rail will go all the way to Wynyard Quarter which most buses etc don't, people will be able to transfer to light rail.
But I agree its not really needed for America's cup, more of a nice to have.

Think $ 3 B and rising - overruns will be horrendous.

$ 1 B just to re-route the utilities under Sydney's light rail.

Yes build a rapid transit system for the migrants with no cars
It’s a human right

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And the global insignificance of the America’s cup has already been canvassed here. Yes there will be more visitors but hardly a flood. They will be well heeled, I can hardly see them crying out for a glorified tram to take them on a tour of mangere and dominion rd to get to their hotels. They too will be in the zil lanes with a nice driver. The whole thing is just cringeworthy and embarrassing

Exactly, There will probably be more demand for Audi Q7s than a friggin' tram.

A lot of Aucklanders will head into the city to watch the cup. They have to get there somehow, they can't all drive

Really? Hordes of people are going to take a tram into Auckland central to watch something they can't see and don't really care about?

Yep I'm pretty sure lots of people will head into town for the NZ races and the parade if we win (although they will probably close queen street for the parade which will close LR down!)

Oh yeah you’re right, let’s rush the $1bn plus rail project so people can get to town to watch a parade...,great idea, keep em coming

I never said it should be rushed, just that it would be useful and well used.

You are pretty lone voice here - and this is a left leaning site.

Ha, ^ THIS!

I've never understood this Light Rail concept and have questioned it since its inception with zealots like Jimbo.

It seems that the only people who support the idea are those that are absolutely ideologically wedded to Light Rail ("Urban Activists") and/or the staunchest Labour-Greens apparatchiks.

I'm all in favour of increasing PT and alternative transport but this is simply an expensive vanity project that doesn't stand up to any rational scrutiny.

APEC can draw in a lot of protesters, generally these people rely on public transport therefore the Labour/Green coalition view this as a priority to be built in time.

Why is light rail needed for the America’s cup and APEC? The city is perfectly capable of hosting the cup and APEC without light rail. They want it done by 2021 so they can say “look at our shiny new toy”. Why can’t they just take their time and get it right. Sad....

Although every extra year taken to get it right is a year that you don't get the benefits. Or worse - a year where National gets elected and cans it.

You say that like canning it would be a bad thing.

Surely the most "considerable risk" is the fact that Auckland Transport will be managing the project.

I think its been handed to NZTA now

Sheesh. I'm sure George Stevenson would of got it done in half the time, digging by hand. This one included a mile long tunnel (longest in the world in 1832):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leicester_and_Swannington_Railway

Productivity has declined. Talk about pathetic.

Productivity has declined?

More like supply of dirt cheap Irish Navies has declined.

Don’t think there was much of an Irish navy in those days, not all that much of one now in fact. But seriously though, with all the technical advances, computerised civil engineering scoping and plans not to mention that heavy machinery and other mechanisation is light years on, why is construction now so slow and appalling expensive. Given that, often wonder how the heck this country of ours was even able to get all the transport infrastructure going in the first place in the pioneer days. Well, in line with your point , there was of course all those work gangs during the great depression.

why is construction now so slow and appalling expensive

Bureaucracy.

With a great degree of sadness, have to totally agree and just the bare facts of this column, confirms it.

Here's a more recent study in productivity decline:
Demolition of the Waldorf–Astoria began in October 1929, and the foundation of the Empire State Building was excavated before demolition was even complete. Construction on the building itself started on March 17, 1930, with an average construction rate of one floor per day. A well-coordinated schedule meant that the 86 stories were topped out on September 19, six months after construction started, and the mast was completed by November 21. From that point, interior work proceeded at a quick pace, and it was opened on May 1, 1931, thirteen and a half months after the first steel beam was erected
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_State_Building

Obviously it wasn’t a house of our Lord which must then be the easy excuse for The Christchurch Cathedral or more accurately a reasonably sized church. It’s not exactly Salisbury Cathedral is it. But seriously two modest bridges over the river mouths in Christchurch, each took longer to build than the Golden Gate Bridge and the traffic flow for each is risible.

"why is construction now so slow and appalling expensive

Bureaucracy."

Back in the day, you had people with practical skills running things, who understood what they were looking at when they peered into a hole in the ground and worked their way up the food chain into the top jobs. Now, with the managerial class/theorists in control, they front-load risk-assessment into everything. Costs are sky-high as a result.

I did'nt choose to address this question but my answer is the same as yours.
Our building workers are highly casualised but with specialist skills and our overseers, if any, have no trades knowledge, they are draftsmen or quantity surveyors at best.
The builders who had all the knowledge and skills have fallen off roofs or typically gone into retirement with their injuries.

Houses still get built under the inspection of council but it is a slow process.

Just a question though... if everyone knew what they were doing in some bygone hey day... how did the leaky homes crisis occur?

And bearing in mind all that, how much of the current bureaucracy is an overreaction to that crisis?

Sorry to get anecdotal but this is a true story.
I looked at an old blueprint one day, from the drawers of a quite old architectual practice.
It was all that was required to build a small school.
The architect commented it was all that was required as the tradesmen worked from a common body of knowledge.
The answer to your question is we abandoned the common body of knowledge, for various reasons.

The suppliers sold the Chief Mugs, that untreated soft timber would last for "Years" as it would be cheaper.

They designed it for their benefit.

They then got Architects by the goolies and asked em to build Mcmansions as they sold better...to unsuspecting Bigger Mugs.

Deck no problem....Flat roof...what...it Might Pour......and it did.

Water finds the cracks....so did them Thieving Suppliers...Builders etc...Just changed the Company Names, 10 year guarantee...Oh disappeared......The Council will Pay...

.Oh you mean the Ratepayers...how cool.

How has that worked out....

Has happened all over again under the National government’s watch and guidance with the Fletcher repair of thousands of Canterbury houses. Except the repairs ignored the building code and the same opportunists and scavengers you refer to came in hard and strong. Thousands of houses in Canterbury have resultantly been ruined. Unsaleable, uninsurable. Housing stock in Christchurch has been stuffed far beyond the leaky house debacle. Yet Mr Brownlee and Ms Adams are ever so proud of this performance. Go figure.

So corruption and kickbacks?

Eeeuuurrrggghhh.

I still wonder how much of the current housing crisis is related to the leaky homes crisis in terms of subsequent regulation and bureaucracy etc

My Father-in-Law, was a builder said "Leaky Homes" would happen. Christchurch on Steroids...for purchasers. This was around 2008. An ex-Prime-munnyster fell for the design, the plan the whole

Leaky sin-Drome.....go Figure.

FIL...Sold off his show homes and retired ...coincidentally one of his SOLID WOOD treated houses is now for sale...after 30 years of wind rain, deluges, looks as good as new....today.

But then he designed and built it himself to exacting design and usage to stand the test of....Time...not big turnover..

It was designed for first home buyers...And now they would not even look at it...at the price it is...Today.

Ya gotta know...ya limitations....folks..Test anything built between 2008 and when it was eventually

Repealed.

Why not shift AC and APEC to Wellington and ditch the LR ?
Problem solved...

Those America's Cup yachts racing around Wellington Harbour on a windy day would be quite something...

They have rules for not racing when wind is above certain level, right ?

Light rail costs in the Land of Oz are 'of the order of $AUD60m/km' in QLD: 2016 quote here from the locals.

Lets update that for 2019 and NZD: assume another 20% for construction cost inflation since 2016, plus pure novelty risk, and the AUD/NZD FX rate at today's number of 93.17. ($60m/0.9317)*1.20 = $NZD77.3m/km. Gulp.

So the Awkland Tram will, at a rough-estimate total distance of 21.5 kms (Google 'distance between Auckland airport and Auckland CBD site:.nz') cost at the above ciggy-packet calculation, be 21.2*77.3=$1,639m in 2019 NZD.

That's for rails only, then there's stock, opex to run the thing, interest at a WACC unlikely to be much less than current mortgage rates if canny investors have anything to say about it, and depreciation.

Much as I love to ride choo-choos, this doesn't seem to be a financially wise choice.

Especially when one considers that another little blip in fuel costs will hit long-haul air the worst, and soonest. Last time I looked, them birds don't run, unlike Aussie smelters in SA, on sunshine and breezes. And will long-haul tourism by air even exist by the time the Tram Loan is repaid?

Still, end on a Relendlessly Posidive note. As long as the electrons keep pulsing down the power lines from those Dams, CCGT plants, geothermal etc., aided by a bit of breeze when Gaia feels like it, the Trams will run. Christchurch Old CBD has a few century-old cars clattering and screaming their way around the tourist loop through the tumbleweeds. Call it the Ghost Train, sell tix, it'll Undoubtedly make some munny.

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Trouble is the decision makers and their staff have no skin in the game. Publish projected costs to build and operate and target usage and then tie Phil Goff's and all AT staff's pensions to meeting those targets. If met they can have a bonus but if not met their pension is cut equivalently. If they still went ahead I would buy bonds in the scheme.

The east west link was going to cost way more than that per km. But when its a road no one cares.
Operating costs will be less than current bus costs - driver to passenger ratio is much higher with light rail and electricity is cheaper than diesel.
Even if the airport closed down the light rail system will still be busy as it has 20 other stops including the city. The existing trains are busy even though they don't stop at the airport!

But that's different. That's a socialist subsidy to for-profit businesses, not to the great unwashed. It's a good thing.

Totally irrational comparison - a very short link with major interchanges. Obviously the per km cost wil be high.

AK Transport bus passengers per km over the year are about 1 - Not so efficient at all.

Operating costs - mainly return on capital, depreciation, wages will dominate. Fuel will be a minor component.

With 20 stops now will take 20 x 3 min / stop say so 1 hour just at the stops. The Airporter bus will be a lot quicker and a fraction of the cost.

Edit: I misremembered. It was Greater Auckland. Light rail not just about the airport: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2018/04/26/light-rail-not-really-airp...

The light rail makes better sense in terms of its connecting of suburbs than just as an airport link. Evaluate in that light instead.

Ok, we already have things to link those areas, they are called cars, buses, bicycles and feet. I know those areas well. If the light rail is for intersuburb connection rather than airport connection then I am even more puzzled. This light rail via dominion rd to the airport looks like a vanity project. I could understand more heavy rail via Onehunga, not light rail via Mt Roskill

They have buses, bicycles, cars and feet in London yet they need the underground too.
The public transport options out mangere are pretty poor and it is ripe for serious growth. Dominion road is almost at bus capacity and expected to be maxed out next decade.
Light rail is cheaper than heavy via onehunga yet it adds 20 new stations to the network instead of 4.

Link, please. to 'Michael Reddell's recent analysis'.

I seriously wonder about the light rail option.
1 They have use already overloaded roads for their route. Do they really gain much or anything at all?
2 They are introducing a whole new transport infrastructure with a whole bunch of extra overhead, rather than adding to the existing and increasingly excellent rail system
3 There is air freight business that will still have to still be carried by truck.
4 I have seen a well reasoned and costed opinion in the paper that said a bus lane from Puhinui station would give the same travel times, cost a lot less and be quickly achievable. So why waste all this money doing a half arsed job.

If you have Netflix watch The Race Underground if you want to see what tram systems do to road traffic and how the only decent long term option is rail. Notice how afford-ably and quickly the projects were completed without the advantage of the machinery that we have these days.

1: Its not on the road from the Airport to Dominion road, and on Dominion road it has a dedicated raised corridor. There are a few set of traffic lights it has to stop for (but will get priority) and that is all.
2: The existing rail system will already be near capacity. Light rail is much cheaper to run than heavy rail
3: Moving air freight by train rarely makes any sense
4: Light rail is not just about the airport. It makes sense to provide rapid transport to all those areas regardless of the airport. Light rail was destined for Dominion road before the airport option was even conceived.

It is not a standard tram system. At no time will it compete with moving cars.

What’s expected journey time, city to airport via my Roskill?

44 minutes, 3 minutes more than heavy rail.

When does AT ever keep to transit times. You are lucky if the service, train & predominantly bus ever arrives at all (with all the time exceeded stop skipping, cancellations etc). They cannot even run a reliable bus & train system and those are the base level. Now they want to mix rail, road and foot traffic on the same corridor, in the same space, on one of arterial routes in the city which is not wide enough for two trucks passing safely. Morons. Making the roads uncrossable is not worth this.

Too slow. People will take a cab

Nonsense ! Take out x mins per stop x 20 stops = mins just at the stops.

If 2 mins / stop that's 40 mins - 3 is 1 hour !

Are you sure about that? All literature I’ve seen has the tram sharing the road with traffic. If they have a purpose built network, that does not share the road then I’m all for it.

They used to have trams running along Dominion Road to Mt Roskill, Mt Albert, Three Kings, and Royal Oak. They couldn't wait to rip them out.

good to see that a Labour council and Labour government are keeping to their promise of

Open and Transparent government -

After we did not get the COL agreement - its been downhill since -follows on from the waterfront stadium report that even elected members had to go into his office to glimpse - no copies allowed

Just another broken promise - a bit like rates will be held at 2.5% - ( did i mention three extra levies that are not going to be counted in the 2.5%)

what is it with Labour mayors and tiny train sets .....

You know it is hard not to conclude that Ms Clark & Mr Cullen are the puppeteers to this government. Everything is reverting to,”we know, we say, you do.” And ditto for Mr Goff in his new office, which doesn’t appear to have any windows.

Agree - Ms Clark caught in traffic to the Airport - Thought for the day - wouldn't it be nice if everyone was in public transport so the road would be freed up for us in our limo !

Oh dear, now there is a reminder. The Stalinist motorcade, speeding north, scattering peasants, breaking the sound barrier, to get to the rugby test, while she, the great one, reclined in the back, absorbed in her notes, without a clue, as to what was going on. And then the great rhetorical question, who dares say I, as in I, have become unpopular.

I can tell that artists conception is pure fantasy because there are no pedestrians or cars in the bike lane.

Plus, the sky is clear , no cloudy, overcast skies and light drissle.

I recall that Wellington's previous mayor (Celia Wade-Brown) promised commuter light rail - as an election bribe.......

But once in power, there was no light rail for commuters..........

Instead, Wade-Brown delivered the Island Bay Cycleway.

This probably ranks as the greatest farce in Wellington City Council's history.

The good people of Island Bay did not deserve the insult.

TTP
P.S. How do you know when a politician is lying?
Answer: Their lips are moving.

There are few Mayoral acts as unpopular as the Island Bay cycle path.

The light rail is back on the agenda again apparently though.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/102814579/Strong-likelihood-of...

Is Phil Goff morphing into Rob Muldoon?

AKL council appears to now be run by a dictator, with his hands on the pursestrings, and riding roughshod over the democratic process.

"Trouble is the decision makers and their staff have no skin in the game. Publish projected costs to build and operate and target usage and then tie Phil Goff's and all AT staff's pensions to meeting those targets. If met they can have a bonus but if not met their pension is cut equivalently. If they still went ahead I would buy bonds in the scheme."
Going by the way the housing issues are currently handled, I would not buy any of the above mentioned bonds.

Let's do a back-of-envelop calculation about PT in Awkland, and see the full horror.

Source is the AT Annual Report 2017 for the actuals quoted.

PT Pax (P8, Boardings) 88.440,000
PT Fare Revenue (P66, PT Revenue line) 155,562,000 which averages out to $1.76 per boarding
PT Opex (P68, PT Operations line) 420,796,000 which averages out to $4.76 per boarding
PT Subsidy (from the above, subtraction) $3.00 per boarding

Leaving 2017 aside, let's then do some simple arithmetic on the New Airport Tram - see my post above for a ciggy-packet estimate of total cost at $1,639m, Do kindly recall that boardings are for the total network....

Capex to cover 1,639,000,000
WACC (SWAG here, probably low) 5%
Term of repayment 50 years
Repayment per annum (Excel PMT, set to EOY payments) $89,779,070
Cost of repayment per 2017 pax boarding: $89,779,070/88.440,000 = $1.02 per boarding
Repayment as a percentage of 2017 revenue: $89,779,070/155,562,000 = 58%

Common taters may like to play around with these figures, but it looks like a bit of a dud to me....But cut some slack; a G&T in hand and half an eye on the French Abbatoir, could be a factor of 10 out somewheres....

look at the "light rail" disaster in Sydney. Building the new trams there are causing massive delays and cost over runs
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/upmarket-retailer-sues-state-over-sy...