New $30b plan to tackle Auckland transport woes unveiled

by RNZ / 26 April, 2018

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Nearly $30 billion will be spent on Auckland transport in the next 10 years, partly funded by a fuel tax, private finance and tolls.

The government and Auckland Council have announced the new Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) at Newmarket train station today.

Billed as New Zealand's largest-ever civil construction programme, $28 billion will be poured into light rail and roading projects at Penlink and Mill Rd.

Heavy rail and bus upgrades, safety improvements and more dedicated cycle lanes are also part of the plan.

The projects will be funded by $4.4 billion raised from the new Auckland fuel tax, increased revenue the National Land Transport Fund and Crown Infrastructure Partners contributions. 

Read the full plan here.

Transport Minister Phil Tywford said the funding plan also included public private partnerships.

"We're putting half a billion dollars into Mill Rd which is going to take a lot of pressure off the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Drury, and $200 million into Penlink, which we're intending to do as a PPP. Its perfectly designed as a toll road," Mr Twyford said.

Read more: How Phil Twyford’s ambitious housing plans ignore the brute realities

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said $1.8 billion was set aside for light rail but extra funding would be announced shortly.

He said a fuel tax was a better option than raising rates.

"Auckland has to contribute its share and the regional fuel tax allows us to do that. The more than $4 billion expenditure it unlocks is critically important to progressing a better transport system for Auckland.

"To raise the same sum from rates would result in a total rate increase of over 13 per cent this year. Alternatively, to do nothing would see Auckland become increasingly gridlocked."

ATAP major investments include:

  • Committed projects like the City Rail Link and northern motorway improvements.
  • Light rail
  • Eastern busway (Panmure-Botany)
  • Airport-Puhinui State highway upgrade, including a high quality public transport link to an upgraded Puhinui rail station
  • Bus priority programme, to more rapidly grow Auckland's bus lane network and support faster, more reliable and more efficient bus services
  • Albany-Silverdale bus improvements
  • Lower cost East West Link to address key freight issues in the area
  • Papakura-Drury motorway widening
  • First phase of the Mill Road corridor
  • Penlink (tolled)
  • Walking and cycling programme to expand the network and complete key connections (e.g. SkyPath)
  • Significant programme of safety improvements
  • New transport infrastructure to enable greenfield growth
  • Network optimisation and technology programme to make the best use of our existing network
  • Rail network improvements including electrification to Pukekohe, additional trains and other track upgrades

This was article was first published on RNZ.

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