CBD Link Funding Take 2

 

Auckland Council is planning another assault on the Government to get it to buy into the CBD rail link of National Significance.
A revised business case seeking Central Government funding will be prepared.
This is expected next year, after the Auckland Plan has addressed issues relating to parameters for growth, land use planning including intensification along rail corridors, and a multi-modal transport strategy for the city centre and beyond have been developed in the Auckland Plan.
This is revealed in Council papers for Thursday’s Council meeting at which a heads of agreement between Auckland Council and Auckland Transport will be signed off.
The Council had earlier resolved to (amongst other matters) direct Auckland Transport to seek a designation for the Central Rail Link, and to require the preparation of a Heads of Agreement as the basis for Auckland Transport’s responsibility for the project. The Heads of Agreement sets out the basis upon which Auckland Transport will have financial responsibility for the Link.
The Council paper says Auckland Transport and the Auckland Council will work together to determine the financial requirements of the project to allow appropriate amounts to be included in the Long Term Plan 2012-2022.
Discussions about funding and relative contributions from Auckland and Central Government “are expected to take place after a revised business case seeking Central Government funding is prepared.”

The project was featured prominently as an option in the Auckland Unleashed discussion document on which consultation closed on 31 May. It was also featured in the City Centre Masterplan discussion document. It has also been presented to the CBD Advisory Board which passed a resolution unanimously supporting the project.
The heat is continuing on the Government to come to the party.
The Council paper says There has been strong support amongst groups consulted for the Link. It has also been strongly supported in the submissions on the Auckland Unleashed discussion document on the Auckland Plan.
The good thing is that the Council and Auckland Transport are ignoring the resistance from the Government and acting as if it is full steam ahead so that no time is lost if it can get a change of heart.
The Auckland Council has already endorsed, as its top transport project for Auckland the underground rail line between Britomart and Mt Eden and Auckland Transport resolved to endorse it in principle, and requested the Council to allocate funds for the project.
The heads of agreement says Auckland Council and Auckland Transport will use “their best endeavours to secure funding from local and other sources when and as required…and will work collaboratively to develop a funding plan to enable Auckland Transport to fulfil its financial responsibilities in relation to the Link.”
On the provision of land, the agreement says Auckland Council will make available to Auckland Transport “any land or interests in land it owns that is reasonably required for the link and provide all reasonable assistance for acquisition of land under the Public Works Act.”

 
 
 

6 Comments

 
  1. Matt L says:

    I was reading this last night, good to see they are progressing and hopefully they will get all their ducks in a row this time so the MOT stooges can’t complain.

    The other thing that is interesting is that it appears that AT will be doing the designation themselves, not Kiwirail like was mentioned when the government hack job was released. I guess the council and AT are concerned that there will be to much political interference from the government so are trying to reduce the risks. The other concern would be that Kiwirail will drag their heels like they are doing with the EMU tender (the inital schedule released lasy year said they would announce the winning tender in May)

  2. KarlHansen says:

    “so the MOT stooges can’t complain.”

    If they are told to complain, they will. In that regard, upgrading the business case at this stage is a waste of money.

    Auckland should proceed with designation and design, and yes, advertising the CBD link. Promote the hell out of it.

    Do separate studies on the beneficial impacts on Auckland, and release them with lots of fanfare. Get a real artist & design team to draw up some fancy station designs, so Aucklanders can start visualising arriving at a K’Road station, or in a revitalised Newton.

    And hope for higher fuel prices and a new minister.

  3. Mark says:

    @Matt L
    My understanding is that you can only do a designation, if you have the finacial responsibility for the project. Which is why AT must be doing it.

    Opens up an intersting issue as to who may own/build – if AT aside from rest of the network, amy also be ability to make a charge? ie to help fund interest cost? ie that would go to AT and not Kiwirail?

  4. KarlHansen says:

    @Mark – I believe that understanding is not quite right, or at least, not so specific. Didn’t Auckland City Council designate for the Eastern Motorway, even though they wouldn’t have built it?

    And in any case, AT could just prepare a general transport designation, that by pure chance fits the criteria of a tunnel for rail… but I’m not a lawyer, so all this is a lot of speculation – the important thing is that AT are doing it, and that the minister is on record saying that he will not oppose it. That limits his ability to sabotage this particular process part.

  5. Matt L says:

    Karl – They can’t complain to loudly if the council/AT use the same calculations and base numbers etc. If we do it their way and prove its worth then they will be pretty hypocritical to turn it down.

    Also AT can designate a rail tunnel based on the legal advise the council received, see the agenda for tomorrows meeting which includes the legal advise in it (near the bottom)
    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/governingbody/governingbodyag20110728.pdf
    My point was that even though SJ said he wouldn’t oppose it if the council paid Kiwirail to do the work, The council/AT obviously don’t have faith in Kiwirail to do the job well or in a timely manner so want to remove the risk by doing it themselves.

    Mark – Yes AT need to have financial responsibility which is why the council passed a resolution a month ago calling it the top transport project and asking AT to designate it, it is also why the heads of agreement has been drawn up.

  6. Mark says:

    @Karl – as Matt confirmed they do need to have financial responsibility. that’s under the RMA designating process. It could become tricky – where they’re tunnelling under properties, there are unlikely to be objectors.

    But if they designate any private land eg stations, they will have an issue with financial responsibility. Usually they confirm they accept the responsibility based on much smaller projects, and with a fair assumption of NZTA funding. eg if you want to widen an intersection, Council takes the responsibility as the designating authority. Say at $20m NZTA would normally fund say $8m, Council budget $12m, but accept the risk on the rest.

    RMA is designed to stop councils designating all sorts of land everywhere, with little or no intention of funding, and therefore using the designation.

    Council may well need to buy land that is controversial so that objectors can’t stop the designation.

    @Matt L – that is also what I think legal advice is saying. So they may well have to have a confirmed budget (maybe $200-300m) to actually get the designation. But it is a contestable Env Crt point – if you owned a building say at Symonds St – you may not want all the uncertaintity, and just want to sell it asap.

 

Leave a Comment

 




XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>