Puhoi On, CBD Link Not (Update)
UPDATE: Len Brown’s reaction: “The rail link is vital for AKL & NZ – council and govt will explore a range of funding options to make it work.”
The Puhoi Holiday Holiday will still happen – but at this stage the government has made no decision to fund the CBD rail link “at this point.”
Transport Minister Steven Joyce has told parliament that he has told Auckland Mayor Len Brown that his public transport aspirations for Auckland “will not be any easier to fund” since the Christchurch earthquake.
“Nothing will be easier to fund as a result of the additional cost of the Christchurch earthquake.”
Referring superficially to the CBD link, Mr Joyce said: “The Government has made no decision to fund that project at this point and it would not be funded from the National Land Transport Fund.”
He had been asked specifically if he informed Len Brown, that the earthquake-related transport costs means his Government will not be supporting the mayor’s public transport aspirations, such as the central business district rail link.
Mr Brown visited parliament last week, supposedly to discuss the Auckland Spatial Plan but may well have grabbed the opportunity to talk about his rail hopes.
Labour’s new transport spokesman Shane Jones then asked the minister whether he would abandon his favoured project, otherwise known as the “Holiday Highway” and at a cost of $1.7 billion, and divert those funds to the more valuable purpose of restoring Christchurch’s transport infrastructure.
The Minister replied: “No. The Government will not be adjusting its roads of national significance programme, except perhaps in relation to some timing matters. Those seven projects were chosen on the basis of their contribution to economic growth in New Zealand, their improvement of journey reliability, and their contribution to safety. I would have thought that the member as a Northland MP may have been focused on economic development in Auckland, but perhaps not.”
Through tunnel "not at this point"
The Minister says the latest guess for how much it will cost to restore the Christchurch road network is around $400m – up from $300m considered earlier.
“In the context of the approximately $3 billion available annually in the National Land Transport Fund, that current estimate is manageable and will not cause any dramatic issues in the shape of that fund.
“The cost is likely to be spread over 4 to 5 years, but again I would say the timing is very much dependent on the extent of damage to underground services and the time frame for repairing that damage.”