Questions sent, my analysis will come tomorrow
Earlier today Mayor Len Brown, and the Independent Advisory Board released what I have called as the Alternative Transport Funding Package. You can see the package as well as these supposed options in funding the package here: The Auckland Transport Alternative Funding Package
As I was not at the Lock Up today with the rest of the media (Main Stream, and Social Media) I have sent a list of questions back to both the Mayor Office, and the IAB around the Transport Package. Some of the questions are broad in context, others are project specific, and I have even thrown in two questions around the Congestion Free Network.
Here are the ten (somewhat lengthy questions) in relation to the Alternative Transport Funding Package:
1) Why was only the two funding options given. Why were other proposals like Public Private Partnerships not actively considered to help fund the Transport investment program.
2) With such a large funding gap and the Government reluctant on new taxes whatever they may be why has the Council, Auckland Transport, and the IAB not gutted projects out of the Summary of ITP Transport Networks (Auckland Plan, and Basic) especially around the roading front.
An example I give is the $472 million (approx) ear marked for the Mill Road corridor that was meant to be done because the Southern Motorway was not going to be upgraded until after 2025. Now that the Southern Motorway is being upgraded from 2015 (so this is a follow-up question) why such the expense on Mill Road when I am sure a simple upgrade costing no more than $75m (for both north and southern ends) is being pursued? Is this not an example of gold plating duplication of roading projects.
3) Has the Mayor and IAB actually considered the Congestion Free Network?
4) Why when the Congestion Free Network being cheaper to implement but gives better outcomes than the entire ITP (think travel congestion and speeds in 2042) not being actually pursued vigorously – in place of the ITP
5) (For Mayor Len Brown) With the Government holding firm on the CRL start date and funding so lacking (without the need for large rates rises or extra taxes including tolls) why does the Council not put the start back to 2018 and offer some other alternative funding mechanisms to the Government as a compromise. (Note the 2018 start date does not include the Precinct Properties part of the CRL)
6) As a full alternative why does the Council and IAB not consider this as in these two blog posts (which have the full details that I am not repeating here) and I gave in Summary to the Auckland Development Committee on the 16th of October: http://www.propbd.co.nz/blogger-gets-council-attention-city-strategy-ideas/
7) For the Mayor: Why is Pukekohe Electrification delayed when if built by 2018 along with the two new stations at Drury and Paerata, as well as extra EMU’s would stave off the need for new roading projects in Southern Auckland – thus saving money and congestion. This is especially as Southern Auckland is due to get 24,000 new homes + new businesses including the 384ha Drury South Heavy Industrial Complex that recently went operative
8) For the Mayor: Why after being Mayor since 2007 (Manukau then Auckland) have I heard you multiple times say Council will get the Manukau South Rail Link built to allow direct Papakura to Manukau Station services but yet nothing is done and Auckland Transport keep stalling after it was raised in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
More to the point why is the Manukau South Link not even on the Summary of ITP Transport Networks (Auckland Plan and Basic) at all when the link and trains running at 15 minute frequencies using the link would allow accessibility between the Southern Auckland population and its major employment/recreation.civic/entertainment/shopping centre in Manukau City Centre (and Wiri to an extent using feeder buses) as well as assisting in mitigating against congestion in Southern Auckland.
9) Will you as Mayor instruct Auckland Transport to have the Manukau South Rail Link built and in full operation by July 1 2015 even if that means the Southern Local Boards might have to pay a targeted rate for it to cover the CAPEX cost. If not why not?
10) What will Auckland Council do if Government rejects the Transport Package announced today, and what will Council do if the citizens of Auckland reject it in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan consultation next year?
For reference I have embedded the Summary of the Integrated Transport Program Transport Networks (Auckland Plan and Basic) below:
First Podcast goes up tomorrow but initial reaction does wonder if Len’s package was in the payload section of the rocket that went ooooops today: