How Mayor Will Fund City Rail Link & Rates
Auckland Mayor Len Brown this afternoon outlined how he expects the CBD rail link –which he calls essential – to be funded.
He expects the Government to pay 50%, and ratepayers 16.6%. 30.9% would come from what he calls alternative transport funding and 2.5% from development contributions.
He told the Council’s strategy committee in a presentation of his 10 year plan, that the construction should begin from 2016 and the cost will be $2.4 billion.
Property will be acquired from next year.
He says the link is essential to service the growth in population, protect the city centre urban environment and meet the Council’s environmental objectives.
He says the Council is preparing a discussion paper addressing key issues around transport funding.
“Central to this is the need to develop new sources of revenue for funding essential local transport systems as we deal with about an $10b funding gap.
“This paper will be released in the early part of next year to give the community the opportunity to contribute to the debate. The paper will address issues such as the effect f local road user levies on low-income households.”
The Mayor said Auckland’s population will reach 2.3m by 2051.
Britomart’s capacity for trains will be reached early next year. Critical parts of the City Centre bus network especially Symonds, Fanshawe and Albert Sts will reach peak capacity between 2014 and 2020. On Albert St alone this will mean 8 buses per minute at peak.
“The City Rail Link provides another exit point from Britomart. This initially doubles its capacity for rail passengers from 12,000 to 24,000 people per hour and provides options to double this again to 48,000 per hour. It achieves this without spoiling and actually improves the quality of the urban einvironment. This future proofs communter rail needs into and from the CBD for the next 60 years while freeing up road capacity for freight and vehicle use.”
$9.5m is also envisaged to extend the Wynyard Quarter tram to Britomart.
In his 10 year plan he outlined his other transport priorities:
- Increased PT subsidies – 73.5m over 10 years with priority
- Investment in PT infrastructure- rail stations, ferry terminals and bus lanes
- AMETI and other major roading projects
- School travel and safety plans ($23m more)
- Extension of the waterfront tram to Britomart ($9.5m)
- Designation of an airport route ($47m)
- Walking and cycling infrastructure improvements
- Investigation/ designation of a 2nd harbour crossing
“Included in my proposal is additional funding for public transport subsidy – bus rail and ferry.
I have asked Auckland Transport to optimise the distribution of funding between these modes.
“As part of this additional funding I want to see public transport needs as identified through the Southern Initiative addressed first.“Public transport connections between places of work, education and residence are to be improved to assist these areas of need.
“Improvements to rail stations, ferry terminals and bus lanes with particular emphasis on the latter two for north of the harbour bridge are also projects for my proposal within the overall capital budget of AT along with extensions to the walking and cycling networks.”
The contentious issue was rating now Councils are all one.
The Mayor reaffirmed his commitment to keep rates increases at, or around, the level of inflation and proposes average rate increases of 3.6% for 2012/13 and 3.4 – 5.1% in subsequent years.
Alongside that is the development of a single rating policy for the council.
“We always knew this was going to be one of our biggest challenges and whatever we do there is going to be significant change,” says Len Brown.
The Mayor’s proposal includes
- A Uniform Annual General Charge of $350
- Farm and lifestyle properties 0.8
- Sea-only access properties 0.25
- Targeted rates for business improvement districts and city centre upgrade
Len Brown told the Council committee he’s proposing the transition to the new rating mechanism be through the use of remissions rather than a legislative or phased approa
“The Long-Term Plan as proposed is based on the transformational shifts identified through the development of the Auckland Plan and will allow us to get on with building an even more liveable city.
“We are focused on fixing Auckland’s transport network, enhancing the economy, protecting the environment, supporting our young people and strengthening local communities.”
Spending money restoring the rundown and bordered up St James Theatre in Queen St is in the Mayor’s 10 year project check list which includes:
- Additional funding for an Auckland-wide education trust
- Continued investment in libraries
- Development of a tertiary education cluster
- Investing in youth in sport programme
- Waste Management Plan
- Hauraki Gulf Marine Park spatial plan
- Regional schools tree planting
- Increased subsidies for public transport – particularly in the southern initiative area
- Investment in train stations, ferry terminals, roading and bus lanes
- Further funding for school travel and safety plans
- Town centre upgrades
- Developing a health hub
- Major events strategy
- Developing a visitor economy
- Implementation of the Waterfront and City Centre master plans
- Cruise ship terminal
- Local Board funding
- Heritage and culture projects
- Tamaki innovation precinct
- Super yacht refit infrastructure
Greens say central Government can afford to fund at least 60% of Auckland CBD rail link, to boost the economy and give Aucklanders better options to get around their city,
In a statement this afternoon, responding to the plan, MP Gareth Hughes said the Green Party also supported giving the Council alternative funding mechanisms, so they would not have to rely solely on rates to pay for their share of the project.