I was made aware that a crucial part of AMETI is about to face a significant speed bump due to lack of funding – and most likely leadership. The crucial part being a bus-way connecting Panmure to Pakuranga Mall with construction due to start around 2015 and upon complete help relieve some of the most congested roads in Auckland
Last updated 05:00 12/09/2012
The future of a new 7km busway in Auckland, hoped to relieve some of the country’s most congested roads, is in jeopardy because of significant funding constraints.
The announcement came last week as the Transport Committee of the Auckland Council discussed the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).
The South Eastern Busway, which was due to begin no earlier than 2015, was expected to carry 5.5 million passengers a year when completed and cost about $1.5 billion.
Auckland Transport Major Projects Manager Rick Walden told the committee the project was “at risk because of an inability to be able to commit funding to it”.
“Unfortunately we won’t be able to start work on it until we are able to commit to the construction of the project,” he said.
Walden said the second stage from Pakuranga to Botany was now unlikely to start for more than a decade.
Councillor Mike Lee said the shortfall in funding was “worrying”.
“As I understand at $1.5 billion dollars it’s not just one of the biggest projects in Auckland but one of the biggest-ever in New Zealand,” he said.
“Are we losing focus or taking on more than we can handle in terms of funding?”
Chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakeley said other funding options should be investigated.
He said the introduction of network pricing, congestion charges and parking fees could raise additional revenue.
Auckland Council agreed in July to spend $1.1m investigating how fuel taxes, congestion charges and additional parking fees could help raise the $10b to $15b needed to pay for transport projects.
The funding crisis comes just five months after Auckland Transport presented a public information day to 300 people on the AMETI project.
Additional benefits as a result of the lanes were believed to be quicker journey times, improved reliability and an increased frequency of services.
And some reaction on Facebook:
AMETI project at risk. Should it have been started if there is no end in sight?Shortfall puts busway at riskThe future of a new 7km busway in Auckland, hoped to relieve some of the country’s most congested roads, is in jeopardy because of significant funding constraints.
- Aaron Bhatnagar Yet the inner city rail loop is being progressed?
- Ben Ross The Eastern Highway is back to haunt Auckland…
And yes the CRL is progressing
- Aaron Bhatnagar Ben, it’s a reverse haunt, because in 2004, it was because it was happening (and parts were upsetting to some). Now in 2012, it’s because it’s NOT happening. The great tragedy is that Auckland’s leadership doesn’t want to progress a much needed and long planned transport project, while they will go hell for leather for something the government won’t chip in for.
- Ben Ross That Aaron would be absolutely bang on
- Ben Ross Aaron, is there any chance we can still build the eastern highway?
- Aaron Bhatnagar Of course there is. But not north of Panmure. The part that goes from Panmure to South Auckland can easily be progressed given political will.
- Ben Ross I assume Hobson Bay still wont let it go north of Glen Innes? Right then time to get the rest of the Eastern Highway back onto the agenda and table
- Andy Cawston How is it that Greater Vancouver can have a fully operational train, bus, and ferry system running every 2-to-7 minutes throughout the region, fully integrated and inexpensive, and Auckland can’t seem to get its act together?Time for Auckland to fire a few people, sue a few more people, cancel a few contracts and bring in some competence into this debacle.
- Ben Ross Sorry Andy cant do that as even Auckland Transport can not give a straight answer on public transport fares. It says fares wont go up, but what they do not say is that the price per trip for a 10-trip ticket holder moves from $1.60 per trip to $1.71 per trip. More here http://voakl.net/2012/09/12/fare-increase/
- Andy Cawston I am working on a photo essay of Vancouver’s transit system. Auckland’s transit mandarins ought to be ASHAMED. We could have had a system JUST LIKE THIS, if only then could pull their act together.
Failure abound is about to greet Auckland Council due to a lack of conviction and foresight that has come back and reverse haunted us some EIGHT years later. That reverse haunting being the defunct Eastern Highway.
In short, if that highway completed with a full Bus Rapid Transit Network built had started construction back in 2004 it would be completed by now. A completed dual carriage way to carry both cars and trucks quickly and efficiently through East Auckland, along with a fully functioning bus-way from Glen Innes to Manukau via Pakuranga Mall and Botany Town Centre allowing express buses to run every 5 minutes. In the near future the Bus RTN would have been turned into rail (the Botany Line) allow a multi-modal fully integrated transport solution for East, South and Central Auckland. What makes matters worse is that the planning was done and the money all but ready to go.
But no, people with short sightedness and leaders with no balls and conviction allowed the Highway and RTN to be made defunct relegating the Eastern Highway to this AMETI project which now will have no RTN system either. Talk about history repeating itself – while Auckland suffers!
So it is time to bring back the Eastern Highway back onto the table with AMETI facing the inevitable obstruction and get this project done ONCE AND FOR ALL!
However some compromises will be needed to get this project on the move.
I propose the entire Eastern Highway Project be built as originally planned in the EASTDOR report. That means a 4-lane expressway (80km/h) that has a mix of grade and non grade separated intersections along its route from Glen Innes to Manukau via Botany and Southern Motorway via Mt Wellington Highway. As per the EASTDOR Report, where the highway goes – the bus RTN (so bus way) would also follow too. But before you all scream blue murder (especially our Greenie lot) here are my three compromises:
- The Glen Innes to City Section of The Eastern Highway and Bus RTN will not be built. The highway will end at St Johns Road which runs over the Meadowbank Rail Tunnel.
- Upon the City Rail Link being a go and ready by 2025, the Botany Line is brought forward and will be built in place of the bus way (Bus RTN) (most likely in stages) along side the Eastern Highway. The Botany Line would first be a spur line to Botany Town Centre itself, then connect to the Manukau Line via Manukau Station after that in due time.
- If Hobson Bay wishes, the G.I city section of the highway can still run along side the rail line to the city – but it will be just a two lane road set at 60km/h with a green-belt either side rather than a 4-lane highway. If Hobson Bay say no – then the highway terminates at St Johns Road as originally planned in the compromise.
I will write-up more on this compromise version of The Eastern Highway (incl. rail) proposal over the weekend once I go through the original EASTDOR report from eight years ago
But people are seriously are going to have to think and maybe swallow their precious pride (on both sides of the coin) and realise that this compromise could be the sole thing that improves public transport in East Auckland as well as general traffic movement for everyone else as well (as not everyone including freight which Greenies forget can use public transport). I have had to compromise as I have supported the full Eastern Highway as an expressway and Bus RTN for the last eight years. But to save AMETI’s sorry ass and get the highway back on track I have had to shorten the highway and bring forward a public transport project some 10-15 years earlier than anticipated.
So what is it going to be if The Eastern Highway saves the Bus RTN side of AMETI? Allow the shortened Eastern Highway to get your Bus (and maybe as a bonus your rail) RTN, or let the whole thing including the RTN’s die because you could not swallow your precious pride and ego to allow a simple compromise that is The Eastern Highway (completed with bus or rail RTN).
For me the answer is simple to assist East Auckland: Allow the shortened highway and get the Bus-way/RTN back on track to the point you might even get a rail line thrown in 10-15 years early to boot for Botany – WIN:WIN for all.
But we shall see how this pans out – although I know which way this will pan out: “ let the whole thing including the RTN’s die because you could not swallow your precious pride and ego to allow a simple compromise that is The Eastern Highway (completed with bus or rail RTN).” Because Auckland has never been able to get it right full stop – and that makes me both sick and sad!