Where I Stand on the City Rail Link
A couple of days ago I posted my stance on the City Rail Link, a position I have constantly held from the beginning when the CRL concept began prior to the 2010 Local Government elections. However the stance was posted at the bottom of another post about leaks. So make it clear and simple I shall repost my CRL stance here:
Me and the CRL
As part of my fundamentals for a Better Auckland:
An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign. This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds. This is my stance with the City Rail Link:
I support the City Rail Link being built but under a different time frame and development process than what the Mayor proposes.
The mayor proposes that the City Rail Link starts construction around 2015 with completion some 5.5 years later and all three stations built using public money (tax and rates).
I advocate the starting of construction of the City Rail Link in 2018 with completion around 2025 mark (if all three stations were built at once). Depending on construction resources and finances available at the time is whether I support all three stations (Aotea, K’ Rd and Newton) being built and opened at the same time (2025) or we go with a staged development starting with Aotea, then K’Road, then Newton with final completion around 2028-2030 if we went staged.
Why later and maybe staged? Simple: allow proper dialogue with the people and businesses of Auckland, allow proper planning, allow proper savings and getting our sick City finances back in order, allow for some remedial investment to happen on existing infrastructure, and to allow some time to gather the resources for this mega-project. Otherwise; go too fast and The Rail Fallacy shall apply and truly bankrupt the city!
Funding wise I believe we as a city can achieve a three-way split between the Council, Central Government and the private sector. Those new stations will attract urban development and investment around them so I am pondering on leasing out air and sky rights, as well as resident and commercial development within and on-top of the stations to help generate returns for the CRL. I am aware in Tokyo such a thing happens with large malls, office and/or residential towers built above the stations by the Rail Company, thus “operated” by the rail company, leased out to the private sector by the rail company, thus generate returns on investment for the rail company! So what we need to do is be rather savvy with the planning, discussion and funding of this critical mega project – something which this current council is not (savvy that is (the word stale being operative here).
That is where I stand unequivocally on the City Rail Link! If for some utter miracle everything including finances lines up and the city won’t be bankrupted then I can live with a 2015-2016 start date, but I somehow doubt that will happen knowing New Zealand…
Further posts (including future posts) on the CRL can be kept track of through the City Rail Link Debate category – which includes operating and timetable