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

  Differentials:

  •   Business 2.63
  •   Rural business 2.37
  •   Rural residential 0.9
  • 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.

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13 Comments

 
  1. rtc says:

    Good luck getting National to fund 50% – they’re already whining about how there’re not enough motorways planned in the Auckland Plan and too many PT projects…I guess they want the Dominion Rd, Quay Street and Eastern Motorways revived.

  2. Peter in Sydney says:

    Stating that he expects the Government to pay 50% of the cost of the CBD Rail Link will certainly put the cat amongst the pidgeons. The Nationals will be trying hard to not commit to that without actually saying so because they do not want too many Aucklanders to cast their votes elsewhere. And if they slip up then it will be a done deal. Well done Len. Bringing this out into the public arena will certainly have the Nationals in a corner!

  3. Geoff Houtman says:

    4 days left to comment on the Plans- more new stuff released again!

    They ain’t makin’ it easy…

  4. Ben says:

    No its not Geoff – it is certainly most not.

    Cup of tea and a scone anyone (all this planning is doing my head in)

  5. rtc says:

    I agree it was a good idea to make it a political issue such that in debates National is forced to state whether they plan to support it or not – could cause them some votes, but knowing Joyce he’ll pontificate about the need to properly evaluate it and change topics – he’s good at being slimey.

  6. Matt says:

    Seen this on the Fairfax Press/National Party Propaganda Wing Stuff website:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5865873/Government-slams-rail-funding-plan

    0.3-0.4 BCR is a Potemkin Number, which doesn’t stack up to the most cursory scrutiny.

    Slimy indeed. Change the government this November.

  7. Mark says:

    I don’t think his funding plans for rail tunnel will become an election issue. Most people aren’t engaged in it. only 10-11% of people work in the CBD (of workers -so much smaller % of 1.4m), and not many more than that go to the CBD at all.

    He hasn’t yet painted the broader picture – ie the better fequency eg from Manukau to Newmarket

  8. Ben says:

    Or rebuilding the Westfield Diamond so you can go from Sylvia Park to Newmarket direct without the dang change at Otahuhu

  9. Brian says:

    Good on Brown, I hope he succeeds. This link really needs to happen, to free up Auckland rail for future expansion of services. Auckland needs to vote out Steve Joyce, or persuade him it it’s in his interests and the interests of road freight…eg, taking cars off the road so freight can move more freely

  10. Luke says:

    may become an election issue on Sunday if the hints are anything to go by.
    More an issue because it would show who is willing to work with the elected mayor of Auckland, and not undermine them.

  11. Jarrod says:

    What is the Westfield Diamond?

  12. Ben says:

    @Jarrod. The Westfield Diamond is a major rail intersection or “turnout” about 300m north of the Westfield Rail Station. The turnout is where the Southern and Eastern Lines split (or merge if going south) basically (there is also the entrances to the Westfield Rail Yard and the Port of Tauranga Metro Port.

    A view of the diamond can be seen here http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p5/Palpatine001/WesfieldDiamondannotated.jpg

    Currently any one wanting to transfer from/to Eastern/Southern Lines have to do so at Otahuhu station (and cop an up to 30 minute wait). And if one wonders if there is demand there is, the number of people requesting Western Line to Newmarket then to Glen Innes or Sylvia Park, or Panmure to Onehunga and vice versa is increasing all the time.

    This link provides a picture of the current situation of transferring http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p5/Palpatine001/WestfieldtoOtahuhuannotated.jpg

    So by “rebuilding the Westfield Diamond,” I believe you can get an efficiency gain from services as you have built a mid-isthmus loop that allows more flexibility in the train timetable and service delivery for passengers to their destination.

  13. Nick R says:

    The junction between the Southern and eastern lines and the branch to the Southdown freight yard. It doesn’t currently have tracks linking every direction, in particular trains can’t travel between Penrose and Sylvia Park directly.

 

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