Auckland transport projects hang on funding

20:33, May 14 2014
Train passengers
ROLL-OUT: Passengers on the Onehunga Line were the first to experience Auckland’s new electric trains when they hit the tracks on April 28.

Some tough decisions will need to be made later this year as Auckland Council figures out how to fund the city's complex transport needs.

Mayor Len Brown says he's proud of the work done on the suburban electrification of the railways but there's a long way to go.

"We have projects like the city rail link, the second harbour crossing, rail to the airport and potential rail to the North Shore."

But there's also a huge amount of work to be done on busways, roads and cycleways, he says.

"We know that we don't have enough capacity in rates or an ability to borrow beyond our limit.

"We need to broaden the revenue stream and utilise private sector balance sheets to get some of these projects up and moving.


"Later in the year we will be considering either a congestion or a network model and rating opportunities to fund the extra spend that we need to make to really get Auckland's transport system fully integrated and moving."

Brown is also keen to get rail electrification down to Pukekohe in the south, a decision that would cost $110 million on top of the $1.7 billion already spent on the project.

Fifty-seven trains have been ordered from Spain to get the rail system fully operational. Eighteen have arrived and 12 are fully commissioned. One train is arriving every fortnight.

Manukau will be linked with Britomart via the eastern line in July and via the southern line by November.

Electric trains will roll through the Papakura station early next year.

West Auckland will be the last to see the new trains arrive, by mid 2015.

The trains started operating on the Onehunga line on April 28 - the same run taken by Auckland's first trains in 1873.

The Government has promised to fund half of the $3b city rail link for construction to start in 2020.

It would consider bringing that forward if CBD employment grows 25 per cent on 2012 levels or if rail use is on track to hit 20 million trips a year by 2020.

In the year to March there were 11 million trips, up 11 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Auckland will cross the 20 million mark by the 2020 deadline if that increase continues.

Auckland Transport public transport manager Mark Lambert says the growth in rail is very pleasing.

"The jump in rail numbers reflects the improved on-time performance, integrated ticketing and the renewed interest in rail with the introduction of the electric trains," he says.

"March saw a record number of people using Auckland's train services."

Special event public transport services run by the council controlled organisation have this year carried more than 130,000 people to sports matches, concerts and larger fixtures including the Pasifika Festival

Half a million fans have travelled to Eden Park on public transport since the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Around 54 per cent of people who went to see the NRL Nines league event earlier this year got to the venue by bus or train.

Manukau Courier