Puhoi vs Rail Loop


There will be absolutely no trade-off between us getting either the planned Puhoi road development or the proposed CBD rail loop in terms of funding.

NZTA’s Auckland regional director Wayne McDonald said that emphatically this afternoon during a discussion on the Puhoi plan at today’s ARC regional transport committee meeting.

Asked by a councillor is there could be a trade off, he said motorway projects were funded from fuel taxes.

“The government has made it clear that rail will be funded separately. So there will be no trade off.

“The CBD rail loop will be evaluated separately and funded separately.

“The minister of transport has made it clear there are two specific pots (of money).”

A councillor mentioned that those pots still come out of the one overall pot of government funds.

Mr McDonald presented yet another Powerpoint presentation on the plans for SH1 Puhoi-Wellsford.

After discussions and questions to Mr McDonald, the council’s committee passed recommendations, reflecting a desire for the project to have a cost benefit justification beyond the issue of any roading safety improvements and that consideration of it did not exclude northern rail.

The resolutions eventually passed were that the committee:

  • restate support for a wider economic analysis as part of any investigation of the SH1 Puhoi-Wellsford road of national significance
  • advise NZTA that the investigation should have a strong focus on safety, reliability and cost effectiveness
  • recommend a common approach to assessing the benefits and cost of the SH1 Puhoi to Wellsford, compared with other projects of high regional significance as identified in the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy 2010
  • recognise the risk of the northern roads of national significance further undermining existing investment and viability of rail transport infrastructure on the North Auckland line.




  1. karl says:

    Technically, Wayne is correct. Practically, we’re not such a large country that you can just waste 2 billion on a marginal highway and not feel the pinch everywhere else money is needed.

    Wonder how he really feels about these things - I know he’s a roading guy, but wouldn’t he rather do motorways that make sense? Even in Auckland, there’s many places that are much more deserving.

  2. Nick R says:

    Hmm, so effectively the statement is “The CBD rail loop will not have access to the primary transport funding stream”.

  3. Patrick Davis says:

    I take specific issue with his stupid comment “he said motorway projects were funded from fuel taxes.”
    Wrong on 2 massive points.

    1. 2009 NZTA required $1.9 billion top up from general taxation just for HIGHWAY construction.

    2. Fuel taxes are meant for all roading not just highways, so while it all gets funnelled into motorways, local roads and arterials loose out and there short falls are subsised from RATEPAYERS. Therefore ratepayers are indirectly SUBSIDISING motorways.

    So please Mr Mcdonald, S Joyce, and your road lobby/trucking cronnies be aware not all the electorate are blinded to the shite your are shovelling!

  4. jarbury says:

    We’ve known this all along, that Joyce’s changes to the Government Policy Statement mean that rail is now funded outside the NLTF. The justification for this change is absolutely pathetic, considering that NLTF funds can still be used for rail subsidies, just not for rail projects (geez that’s logical - not!)

    Hopefully this will have woken up the Regional Transport Committee to the fact that the CBD rail loop just ain’t going to happen unless that’s changed.

  5. Matt L says:

    I assume the minister has already indicated there is no way he is letting the tunnel be built and will already have his excuses lined up. Hope I am wrong though

  6. Geoff says:

    Funny how rail is rail, but roads are “land transport”. Use of this term, primarily by National governments, goes back to the 1970′s, and is in my opinion a part of the long term propaganda campaign to keep people thinking of roads when talking about transport options in general.

  7. Brent C says:

    Its going to be interesting Matt L. Will be an arm wrestle between the supercity and the government. Most cadidates are campagining for it.

  8. DanC says:

    Why do I get the feel that the people who can pull the trigger on projects are against the rail loop when it can provide so many benefits?

  9. Matt L says:

    Brent C - yes most are campaigning for it but it is almost becoming CBD Tunnel wash. Politicians are using it as an excuse for not funding or investigating other PT projects by saying the CBD tunnel will solve the problem when the issue is nowhere near the rail line.

    Dan C - most people seem to think that, it doesn’t help when the minister says something along the lines of “over 80% of people choose to use a car so that has to be the priority” when the reality is if there was a real choice that figure would be dramatically smaller.

  10. jarbury says:

    Once the CBD rail tunnel’s business case is completed and (hopefully) it has a good cost-benefit ratio, the heat will really go on as we’ll be able to compare the two projects quite easily in terms of what return we get for the approximately $1.5 billion each one will cost.

  11. CB says:

    The lack of a funding stream for the CBD loop gives Joyce the perfect out. If the business case comes back strong he’ll say “we believe this is a worthwhile project….in the future when rail patronage grows large enough. At the moment there is just not the funding available for this project, this is a long term project for Auckland” That way he’s not dismissing it out of hand but at the same time not commiting to building it. He’ll then mention the “billions” that his government has spent on PT before quickly changing the subject back to state highways.

  12. James B says:

    I think if an election issue can be made of this then we may see some action. John Key is nothing if not pragmatic and if there is a risk he could lose a number of seats or more importantly party votes then he may step in to force Joyce to build it. Unfortunately it may be difficult to make an election issue out of one infrastructure project.

  13. karl says:

    Of course Steven Joyce will fight back. The real issue is whether Auckland is willing to fight FOR the CBD tunnel, or whether that will just be a cheap election promise.

    Funny, I though I might want to vote John Banks, because I thought he’d be a better scrapper in the fight for the CBD tunnel. But after his recent work against efficient public transport, I don’t trust him as far as a single-stage fare anymore.

  14. joust says:

    @karl, lol, or a 50c inner-city trip even.

  15. Matt L says:

    Karl - I was thinking the same thing, I thought he would be better at pushing the thing through however after hearing him talk about transport recently it actually made me less likely to vote for him, I just don’t think I can trust him


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