Voting Guide- Transport Policies
Here is what the leading mayoral candidates have to say about their transport policies. While the completion of rail networks is a popular supermayoral policy, WWF say only Len Brown and Andrew Williams have given a commitment in their survey to the other pillars of sustainable transport – more buses, and better walking and cycling options.
WWF is calling on Aucklanders to challenge the mayoral candidates on their environmental policies, after concluding that none of the top four polling mayoral candidates for Auckland’s Super City have committed to protecting Auckland from the impacts of climate change.
WWF says Colin Craig was the only one of the four to commit to spending more on public transport than on new roads, based on a fully self-funded road building programme.
Here are the candidates responses on transport which can be seen in full on the WWF site
Candidates were asked to comment on:
- What are the key transport projects over the next 30 years that you would seek to initiate?
- What are your priorities for transport infrastructure investment during your first term as Auckland Mayor?
- Broadly, of the total transport infrastructure budget what proportion would you seek to spend on roads and what proportion on public transport?
John Banks response:
There is a broad consensus about the transport infrastructure that is required for Auckland to really address its transport deficit. And great progress is already being made with projects like double tracking, and the undergrounding of rail at New Lynn, for example.
I support the CBD rail loop as the next major project if only because with projected growth there will simply not be the roading capacity in the CBD for all the buses that will be required to bring people in and out of the city centre. Pushing through the end of Britomart with a CBD rail loop will mean a doubling of the number of trains that can pass through – from 19 per hour to approximately 38
We will soon see a decision on the 3rd harbour crossing and I believe this is most likely to be a tunnel under the harbour. This tunnel must include capacity for rail, and eventually I want to see rail from Albany to the airport.
I believe that there is potential to make much better use of ferry services, including into places like Takapuna and Beachaven. We also need to address issues such as the poor state of the existing ferry wharf at Devonport.
The first step along this journey will be to make sure that the Transport CCO is given a clear steer about the priorities of the new Auckland Council. The funding and timing of the projects that the CCO is to deliver will be critical decisions, because there is not a bottomless pit of money.
We need to appoint people to the transport CCO who are best equipped to make that organisation deliver. And I will hold the feet of that CCO to the fire, because if there was a single reason for the changes which are taking place in Auckland it was our poor history of decision making about transport.
We are paying a price for that historical deficit now, because while Vancouver and Auckland were ranked 4th equal in the recent Mercer quality-of-life survey, Vancouver was ranked 6th for economic infrastructure and Auckland was based 43rd!
If we are to provide a future for our young people, and make sure we are not all visiting our children and grandchildren in Brisbane and Melbourne, we have to get transport right. We have to make the new Council work, and nowhere is there is more true than for transport, and particularly public transport!
Fixing Auckland’s transport is my top priority. I believe there are three key large scale projects we need to progress to turn Auckland into an internationally competitive city: a rail link to the airport, an underground CBD rail loop and a second harbour crossing with rail to the North Shore. We will then have a backbone of rail from Pukekohe to Albany that will give Aucklanders options of more efficient, faster, cleaner transport, to unclog roads and get Auckland moving.
My main priority will be a large focus on investment in public transport infrastructure – particularly the development of rail, extending the network, upgrading services and other transport options including:
- Extending our ferry network and fixing up our wharfs
- More options for buses, walking and cycling
- Better traffic demand management
We will also be rolling out integrated ticketing, electric rail rolling stock, and working toward finishing the motorway network – western SH20 link between Manukau and Waterview connection, upper harbour highway and the AMETI connection.
The new Auckland Council will allow us to take a broad look at transport across our whole region. My council has overseen the first extension to Auckland’s rail network since the 1930s, which will be important as our region grows to two million people by 2031. I will be driving a long-term achievable transport plan in my first term through consultation with Council, the Transport Council Controlled Organisation, Government and the community that will achieve a better balance across our region. However, without complete figures and agreement of the government, I cannot be precise at this stage.
1] TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE
- Electrification of Auckland rail on the existing rail network will be completed within 3 years.
- There will be fully integrated ticketing across all modes of public transport at the earliest possible time.
- More ferry terminals will be completed to fully utilise the harbour i.e. to Takapuna, Browns Bay, Beachhaven, Hobsonville and beyond.
- The final scoping of the next harbour crossing will be completed and determined by the end of 2011. My preference is a series of 4 tunnels – 2 each for rail and road transport. It will be a staged PPP funded development commencing with the rail tunnels initially, to be completed by 2018, and the road tunnels by 2022. The road tunnels will effectively be the SH1 ‘through lanes’ connecting with spaghetti junction, leaving the harbour bridge as the primary road connecting the Auckland CBD with the North Shore.
- The vitally important Western Ring Route will be completed within 3years, including the Waterview link and the Hobsonville extension, and as a result we will have a full bypass of central Auckland. This will greatly reduce congestion in Spaghetti Junction. It cannot be underestimated the importance of this bypass motorway for those in the North and West of Auckland providing strategic connections to Auckland Airport and to the rest of the North Island.
- The Auckland Harbour Bridge will have a major refit between 2020 and 2030 to give the clip-ons another 50 – 100 years life. This refit will allow one lane each way to be dedicated to cycle and walkways, leaving 6 lanes for general traffic and buses to service the Auckland CBD and the Shore.
2] BUS LANES / TRANSIT LANES
- The emphasis will be taken off “revenue earning” and will go onto improving movement of buses/HOV’s on the bus lanes. Many of the bus lanes such as Remuera Road will become either T2 or T3 transit lanes in peak hours, as we do in North Shore City with the lanes shared by buses and high occupancy vehicles.
- Taxis and shuttle vans will be permitted to use the bus and transit lanes.
- Drivers who infringe the bus lane/transit lane rules will get an initial first warning…not a ticket as they do now. There will be a step-change to a more educational role by the Auckland Council, not a draconian revenue earning regime. That first warning will register on the electronic scanner system used by the enforcement officers who will only issue a ticket on the second time of an offence.
- I will negotiate with central government to change the laws around bus lanes to make it 100 metres from an intersection not 50 metres as the laws currently stand. And also a change to100 metres when turning into aside property. 50 metres is simply too short a distance for safe movement between lanes of traffic, and very few people can judge such a short distance as 50 metres when in a moving vehicle.
- The 100 metre marks will be clearly marked on the roads with a contrasting painted strip leading up to the intersections. Officers will be instructed to show some discretion when issuing tickets for “minor infringements” of the 100 metre rule.
- Businesses and residents operating/living on these bus/transit lanes will be issued with special permits to be displayed in their vehicles to allow them to get to/from their premises/houses on the transit lanes without having to wait in traffic queues. e.g. this is a problem on Onewa Road, Northcote.
- The Park n Ride areas around Auckland will have HOV dedicated areas. i.e. for instance, a set number of parks in each Park n Ride will be allocated to those who come with 2 or more in their car. In so doing we will see far more people per Park n Ride car space.
- More Park n Rides will be established further out such as Silverdale to encourage commuters onto buses/trains/ferries at source….not halfway down the motorway.
3] PUBLIC TRANSPORT FARES
- The seniors free off peak fares after 9am will be locked in place and guaranteed across Auckland.
- A new fare system for students will be introduced giving a flat fare of (max) $2 for students (with student ID) travelling anywhere in Auckland regardless of the distance, including connecting between modes of transport trains/buses/ferries. With some 40% of peak hour traffic generated by “education based” people it is vital that we get as many of these students out of cars (or parents’ cars) and onto public transport.
- All public transport will be free on Christmas Day.
In terms of transport I have the following policies:
- Set a long term Plan. Co-operation with Government, agencies and interest groups in developing a single long term (30 year) transport strategy. This would ensure aligned goals, timeline and funding.
- Commitment to completing motorway and ring route roading projects for Auckland. This would include the AMETI (Stage 1 of Eastern corridor) project. We should emulate both Brisbane and Sydney by prioritising motorway projects (accelerated timetable) and making them fully funded through tolling. Alpurt (the motorway to Puhoi) is an example of a successful project the next stage to Wellsford will need to be completed. Additionally a motorway Mangere to Mt Wellington (Central East/West Corridor) will be required.
- Commitment to improved public transport. Although not currently supported by the Government (due to cost) the Auckland city rail loop is necessary to maximise the resource of Britomart and existing lines and must proceed at some stage. Electrification of balance of rail and integrated ticketing is already on the agenda but needs fast tracking. I support the development of public transport lanes (bus lanes in the first instance) alongside new highways as a first step toward better public transport and this would include extension of the Northern Bus way to Silverdale as well as development of bus ways along new traffic routes (Western Bus way and Eastern Bus way along the route of the AMETI project). Additionally there will need to be a link to the airport as well as the Avondale Southdown link.
- Commitment to a third harbour crossing by bridge. The Anzac Centenary Bridge proposal (or similar) has general public support (over 60% as compared to 15% for the much more expensive tunnels). The existing bridge worked well until capacity and the lack of dedicated public transport lanes, pedestrian and cycling lanes became an issue.
The priorities will be set by co-operation with Government, agencies, and interest groups and not dictated by the Mayor.
Given current commitments to transport infrastructure (going through to 2015) there will be no new investment in the first term. Any proposal otherwise is frankly not realistic.
Therefore the “investment” in the first term is in developing an agreed long term (30 year) strategy that includes commitment to specific projects for the Auckland region. In respect of roading I would raise funding via infrastructure bonds and fully fund the cost with tolls. As a fully funded model this would not require spending from the infrastructure budget. This also allows fast tracking of projects ahead of budgetary constraints. Compare 8 years for Sydney to complete its ring route to our 50+ years as validation of this approach.
Therefore 100% of the transport infrastructure budget can be used to develop public transport options.
Initiating projects 30 years away is not practicable. I believe that measures need to be started in the three years available and set in motion for major achievement in 6 years with completion within 10 years. Any solution proposed for 30 years hence, will be out of date before the 30 years have past.
First we must fix Auckland’s biggest problem. Congestion. Cars in peak travel time, spending 3 times the normal off peak travel time, is wasteful of fuel, a source of major pollution and an economic burden on the whole community. Fixing congestion to manageable levels where traffic moves smoothly would save the Auckland community the equivalent of $2 billion which is the cost of congestion it suffers each year.
Clear goals will be given to the Transport CCO to ensure they take up the challenge together with Key Performance Indicators. Detailed steps are outlined on the election web site. The expected cost of these road and motorway changes would be around $600 million with much of the expenditure expected to receive some degree of Government capital contribution.
Bus lanes will be reviewed as congestion is reduced. There is no need for a separate bus lane when traffic is moving satisfactorily. There may be however some expenditure to have pull over bus stops so the buses do not hinder other traffic movement when they stop.
The second step is to direct the Transport CCO to investigate three of the new mode passenger transport systems. These include PRT or personal Rapid Transit systems like Ultra or Taxi 2000 or the Elevated Small Group Automated Rapid Transit system which I designed for Auckland called SkyCabs which uses a collective system similar to buses and trains, but utilises the characteristics of PRT systems, namely high frequency and automation, adding in higher speeds and larger vehicles to give a greater capacity.
The advisory UK Committee on Integrated Transport now places ‘new modes’ of transport among the main options in mode selection with the comment” the so-called risks of these new modes is more than made up for with their greatly reduced capital costs.”
The CCO will be directed to select the best of these new passenger transport modes, if necessary have a test site built to confirm the technology, and to install a line in Auckland between the CBD and the airport.
Using SkyCabs as an example, such a system would have a capital cost well below half that of the proposed rail system, offer vastly increased frequency and a much faster trip. The example of the Sydney CBD to Airport rail line showed clearly that Auckland could not sustain a rail line as proposed from Onehunga to the airport requiring heavy capital outlays and high operating subsidies. A line using SkyCabs could be a profit center paying its operational costs and providing a return on investment.
These two policies would be put into place during the first 3 years with a start on the line to the airport expected to start in Year 3 at best and probably Year 4. The expenditure on this line would be around $480 million. The capital needed for the line could be a 60% capital grant from the Government with 40% private investment.
Subject to satisfactory early operation additional lines would be built to provide a system across Auckland and costing approx $2.8 billion in today’s dollars.
The expected patronage of such a line would be around 100 million trips per year. Capacity could be doubled with up to 8 people standing per cab in addition
to the 8 seated, but some lines may require new additional lines close by to handle growth before standees would be accepted by the public.
The combination of these two measures will save the $2 billion cost of congestion for about 15-25 years. That’s a $30-50 billion saving for Auckland, the equivalent cost saving if all savings were used productively of a 4.2% increase in Auckland’s GDP a year or a 1.2% increase in NZ’s GDP.
We cannot accept this heavy burden of a $2 billion congestion cost to fall each year on businesses, on workers trying to move across Auckland and on ratepayers. Waitakere has 90,000 people in work, but it also has 30,000 people in the worst 20% of poverty. Burdens like the cost of congestion weighs on all residents and has most effect on those least able to sustain workers high costs of private transport caught in the congestion or the high subsidies required to be paid when those in work use trains or buses.
Some other “minor” candidates responses on the WWF site Not all candidates replied or were tracked down.