The future of a new 7km busway in Auckland, hoped to relieve some of the country's most congested roads, is in jeopardy because of significant funding constraints.
The announcement came last week as the Transport Committee of the Auckland Council discussed the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).
The South Eastern Busway, which was due to begin no earlier than 2015, was expected to carry 5.5 million passengers a year when completed and cost about $1.5 billion.
Auckland Transport Major Projects Manager Rick Walden told the committee the project was "at risk because of an inability to be able to commit funding to it".
"Unfortunately we won't be able to start work on it until we are able to commit to the construction of the project," he said.
Walden said the second stage from Pakuranga to Botany was now unlikely to start for more than a decade.
Councillor Mike Lee said the shortfall in funding was "worrying".
"As I understand at $1.5 billion dollars it's not just one of the biggest projects in Auckland but one of the biggest-ever in New Zealand," he said.
"Are we losing focus or taking on more than we can handle in terms of funding?"
Chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakeley said other funding options should be investigated.
He said the introduction of network pricing, congestion charges and parking fees could raise additional revenue.
Auckland Council agreed in July to spend $1.1m investigating how fuel taxes, congestion charges and additional parking fees could help raise the $10b to $15b needed to pay for transport projects.
The funding crisis comes just five months after Auckland Transport presented a public information day to 300 people on the AMETI project.
Additional benefits as a result of the lanes were believed to be quicker journey times, improved reliability and an increased frequency of services.
- Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News