Way Forward For Rail Link

 

Demonstrating a commitment to resolving current and emerging CBD access issues, for example by improving bus operations and addressing capacity issues is being suggested as one way Auckland Council could get the Government to review its reluctance to fund the proposed CBD Rail Link.

A report before today’s Council Transport Committee suggests this is one way forward. It is also revealed that it could cost $270m for property acquisition costs to protect the proposed route for the CBD Rail LInk.

This may be subsequently partially offset by property sales of $140m when the project is in place. This would leave net property costs of $130m. Auckland Council and Auckland Transport would bear the costs as it’s considered unlikely NZTA would assist.

Property negotiations were planned to happen between July and 2013. Most of the yet unnamed properties are expected around the Mt Eden area of the link route.

With the Government turning down funding for the project, a report before the committee suggests the steps that could help change the Government’s stance.

The review released by the Government did not support consideration of funding of design or construction at this stage, but concluded that it makes strategic sense for the route to be protected now, subject to this being funded by Auckland Council.

The report to today’s Council committee lists the range of actions identified by Central Government agencies that could be undertaken or facilitated by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport which would improve confidence in the outcomes expected from the City Centre Rail Link as being:

  • Auckland Council finalising and implementing its spatial plan and City Centre Masterplan to help clarify the project’s role in the CBD and wider Auckland.
  • Demonstrating commitment to resolving current and emerging CBD access issues, for example by improving bus operations and addressing capacity issues.
  • Development of a robust and achievable multi-modal programme for transport in the CBD, which considers a thorough analysis of alternatives and identifies the optimal mix of modes to meet demand.
  • Beginning implementation of large scale residential developments along the rail corridor.
  • Implementation of additional park and ride sites, and changes to bus feeder services where appropriate.

“The implementation of these measures, combined with rail patronage above forecasts and arobust economic case, would provide a strong signal that the conditions are in place to drive the necessary benefits from the project and therefore to reconsider the business case for the project

“Officers are working with Auckland Transport on any additional work and actions required. Of note is that the City Centre Masterplan work has provided an excellent opportunity for a collaborative approach between Auckland Transport and the Council on a multimodal approach to the transport elements of the Masterplan process in the City Centre.
“Work on transit oriented growth around future City Rail Link stations is already underway as an input to the Auckland Plan and Unitary Plan processes. A number of Transit Oriented Development processes are either underway in planned in locations such as New Lynn and Panmure.”

The Council’s Strategy and Finance Committee has approved Auckland Transport’s funding request to allow work on Notice of Requirement documentation; affected landowner engagement, design and resource consent preparation, to proceed in the 2011/2012 financial year.
It says other decisions on funding will need to be considered through the Long Term Plan process, which is subject to public consultation.

Funding ideas for the Link that have been thrown around within the council include:

  • Rates
  • Regional GST, income tax or payroll tax
  • Targeted rates inclduing CBD Link area
  • Regional fuel tax
  • ‘Car parking charges
  • Car parking levies on parking spaces
  • Congestion charges
  • Higher fares to central city stations
  • Visitor or bed tax
  • Regional lottery

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6 Comments

 
  1. Anthony says:

    Reluctant? Kicking and screaming “NO” like a little toddler who won’t go to bed more like….

  2. Ingolfson says:

    Anthony – sorry, it’s more like a parent cuffing their teenager around the head and telling him that no, he CAN’T choose to do what he feels is right for him, not as long as he lives under THEIR roof.

    So more like domineering parent than screaming toddler. Since the NZ tax system is all geared around funds gathered in Wellington, they have the ultimate way to throttle Auckland.

  3. Kurt says:

    Re Bus feeder services

    I can’t help but conclude that trying to combine bus feeder services with rail under the current private bus ownership model is going to be as difficult as the combined ticketing idea that is still being resisted by those same bus companies and is still not up and running.

    Attempts to have bus feeder complimenting rail will ultimately prove very expensive for rate payers.

    It should be easy but the threat to bus revenue by having a more accessible train system will be the overriding concern for private bus operators to the detriment of the public.

  4. Chris R says:

    It seems strange that regional infrastructure bonds haven’t been considered or are they not allowed.

  5. Scott says:

    Chris, Bonds are a debt instrument, not a source of funding. It is planned that the council will use debt to spread the cost of the tunnel over many years. Funding is required to both service and pay down the debt that is going to be required.

    If Infrastructure bonds are the cheapest debt instruments available then they should be used.

  6. Rene says:

    How about selling tickets to see the native Taniwha in its natural habitat under Auckland’s CBD? We’ll pay for the thing in no time.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/5114496/Taniwha-in-the-way-of-Auckland-rail-loop

 

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