An Issue with the Isthmus Light Rail Debate
Both Transport Blog and myself are displaying cautious optimism towards light rail on the Isthmus. That is a return of the trams after their absence since 1953. The caution comes from Auckland Transport giving no details on how it is to finance the Light Rail scheme which is believed to cost $1 billion. While Auckland Transport Chair Dr Lester Levy has indicated the private sector getting on board we won’t know how much public money might be involved until we see the full details.
Thus as a result it is understandable that parts of Auckland are sceptical in this Light Rail idea coming out of no where, wanting to be started next year but yet no word on funding. Thus the perception and a fair one at that is that the Light Rail on the Isthmus has the very high potential of leap frogging other pre-committed transport projects. Projects such as the Otahuhu and Manukau Transport Interchanges that were due for completion next year however, owing to Auckland Transport’s incoming 38% budget cut both interchanges are as of now delayed until 2021.
More on the Light Rail situation and cautious optimism can be seen here: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM ON AUCKLAND TRANSPORT’S LIGHT RAIL ANNOUNCEMENT
Enter Albert Eden Local Board Chair Peter Haynes. You might remember him from this post NIMBY’S DEPRIVE OTHERS OF MUCH NEEDED HOUSING where his NIMBYism (as well as others) are stalling a Housing New Zealand project that would give those not so well off a chance for a home and potentially their own home. Especially in Auckland’s current housing situation.
Well Haynes believes that the Light Rail project (not in the operative 2012-2022 Long Term Plan nor the 2015-2025 Draft Long Term Plan) SHOULD leap-frog everyone else’s pre-existing projects that were already on the current operative 2012-2022 Long Term Plan (and in the 2015-2025 Draft Long Term Plan although under shifting priorities at the moment) come hell or high water. Before you go and read what he has to say for himself know that regardless on how long the Isthmus might be waiting for light rail as Haynes says you first:
- do a full business case
- get the costs and how you plan to meet those costs
- then put it out to Auckland for their thoughts
- if the reaction is positive ask Auckland Council to put it into the Long Term Plan for our consideration again
- AND THEN if we give it final support the project can go ahead to whatever time frame has support of both Council and the public.
And thus here is what Haynes thinks of the rest of Auckland owing to the Light Rail project
Jodi Johnston I don’t give this the thumbs up – it is a distraction at a time when we least need it. Auckland Transport have blown a rocket launcher at their foot.
I the main quote everyone should remember from the Mayor
“I (the Mayor) am not leading this project and am rather cool on the idea of Light Rail. However, IF Auckland does say yes then it must be weighed up (that is compete) against other existing transport projects in the Long Term Plan (for resource).” Light Rail is not currently in the Long Term PlanNote it must compete against other existing projects such as two South Auckland bus interchanges due for completion next year but now stalled to 2021 unless we want more rates, taxes and tolls to fund it.
Why does light rail leap the queue when South Auckland was promised as part of the New South Auckland Bus Network in 2013 two new interchanges and now all of a sudden we must wait 6 years. If Lester Levy of AT thinks he can get novel PPP funding mechanisms for light rail then he can think just as hard getting our funding for two interchanges.
Although he need not bother as there is already a proven option from overseas ready to go: http://www.propbd.co.nz/blogger-gets-council-attention…/
Christopher Randal The thing about the interchange delay is that it blows the new network out of the water
Ben Ross It does and is highly unacceptable. As I noted last year (will get the link later) the interchanges are being treated as political toys and hostages….
Peter Haynes Ben asks, ” Why does light rail leap the queue ..?” Actually, the Dominion Rd upgrade has been on the cards for a whole quarter of a century. South Auckland was a sparsely settled hinterland way back then. If we don’t do something to sort out the traffic/public transport problem in the most densely populated part of our city, then there will be chaos on many CBD streets. We’ve got huge developments coming along these corridors, such as the Three Kings Quarry development. Dominion Rd is already priority 11 on AT’s list. Does that answer your question?
Peter Haynes No Ben. You ask, ” Why does light rail leap the queue when South Auckland was promised as part of the New South Auckland Bus Network in 2013 two new interchanges and now all of a sudden we must wait 6 years.” Apart from the need for a question mark, I think that you were quite clear. And the answer is that light rail on Dominion Rd (which is basically where they are looking at, despite the press report) is not leaping any queue. It was planned for decades ago, and made its way to the front of the queue already.
Ben Ross So Peter Haynes Chair of a Local Board on the Isthmus believes in shafting the rest of Auckland with a Light Rail project that is not funded, not in the LTP, has little support from the Mayor, has no funding mechanism outlined by Auckland Transport as of yet, and shunts what were funded projects off the list.
Cut the spin Peter like your NIMBY spin on that Housing NZ development in your LB area.
Also because of your arrogant answer it would be a shame if the rest of Auckland went hostile against LRT on the Isthmus (as well as poor execution from AT)
It would be a shame indeed.