Snags were around tolling the roads
And so yesterday the Prime Minister announced what this blog thought was going to happen for the last few years now. That is the City Rail Link (main project) will start in 2018 allowing completion for around 2022.
While there is quiet reflection on Mayor Len Brown working on bringing the City Rail Link into its eventual fruition we have this from Radio NZ:
Auckland rail link cost to be split – PM
The government is willing to pay half the cost of the $2.5 billion Auckland City Rail Link, with the Auckland Council providing the rest, Prime Minister John Key says.
Listen to more on Checkpoint with John Campbell ( 6 min 38 sec )
A contract was yet to be negotiated, including details about how the rail link would be owned and managed, but the government was comfortable, in principle, with a 50-50 cost split.
“Yeah look, in reality we’ve never really terribly shied away from that kind of number, but we owe it to taxpayers to make sure we do a good deal…to get value for money for them,” Mr Key said.
“But that’s the sort of order of magnitude I think we’re talking about.”
The government, including then Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, has been lukewarm on Auckland Council proposals to levy road taxes, or introduce tolling to raise money for major transport projects
However, Mr Key has now left the door open for those options, as the Auckland Council looks for ways to raise money for its share of the City Rail Link.
“We haven’t ruled those things out, but we have said that they would absolutely need to justify them.
“So the council, as it goes through its process of working out how it’s going to come up with its $1.25 billion, will need to answer some pretty simple questions.
“How much is it prepared to fund off its rates, how much can it realistically fund through debt, what does its asset mix look like? It’s got lots of options it needs to consider.”
Source and full article: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/295073/auckland-rail-link-cost-to-be-split-pm
The business around tolling to help pay for the City Rail Link was discussed in the following Stuff article:
Tolls on Auckland motorways a key part of wrangling over rail link
The government will work with Auckland Council to bring the $2.5 billion project forward by two years, Prime Minister John Key announced on Wednesday.
Providing certainty for private companies wanting to build associated projects in downtown Auckland was one of the reasons for giving a firmer commitment, Key said.
But while the government has confirmed it will fund half of the project and bring the business plan forward to allow work to start in 2018, it has not given Auckland a cast iron guarantee.
It still needed to work through some complex issues with the council, Key said.
“These include how the project costs will be finally shared… and how the Rail Link will be owned and managed,” he said.
Auckland Council wants to help fund its share of the new rail link which will run through the city’s CBD by introducing tolls on the region’s motorways.
But Key said the council had plenty of other options, including paying for it with rates or raising debt.
“We are lukewarm on (tolls), because in the end it reduces the available disposable income of Aucklanders and makes Auckland as a place to do business a little more expensive.” the Prime Minister said.
Before someone south of the Bombays pipes up on why should New Zealand pay for the City Rail Link ask yourself should New Zealand be paying for the upcoming $1.85b East West Link motorway as well….
Also given Key was lukewarm to the CRL starting in 2020 before announcing yesterday the 2018 start date I would say tolling is very much on the cards and will come back up again in 2017, one year before the CRL starts tunnelling.
Reaction has been mainly positive apart from the usual three whingers having a whinge (Wood, Brewer and Quax) while Mayoral Candidate Crone struggles to understand the difference between management and governance looking at her Presser on the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday.
Mayoral Candidate Phil Goff did saying the following though:
Goff welcomes CRL funding decision
Auckland Mayoral Candidate Phil Goff has welcomed the Government’s decision to bring forward funding for the City Rail Link.
While the Government has said it will consider what share it will pay, Mr Goff says it should consider the project as being the same as a Road of National Significance which the Government funds in full.
“The CRL is a vital component in helping meet Auckland’s transport needs. Rail patronage grew by 22 percent last year. The CRL will mean rail can double its capacity. It will allow much quicker and more frequent services.
“Bringing the project forward is essential. The Britomart Terminal is currently a bottleneck and it will reach full capacity by 2018.
“The Government’s commitment to infrastructure is vital. If Council has to meet the earlier suggested half share of the cost of the CRL, that by itself would potentially expand Auckland’s borrowing capacity.
“As welcome as the CRL is, that by itself is only one part of relieving Auckland’s traffic congestion.
“To prevent the City collapsing into gridlock as its population grows by a further half million by 2036, other infrastructure is vital.
“We need light rail, more busways, walk and cycleways which among other things can provide a safe alternative for students to get to school without having to be driven and roading improvements.
“Every transport report I have read acknowledges that at current levels of investment, congestion will get worse. Already the Productivity Commission reports that Auckland’s congestion costs Aucklanders and New Zealand one and a half billion dollars a year. That is money down the drain, a total waste.
“If elected Mayor, I will be committed to ensuring Auckland and Central Government work constructively together. If Auckland doesn’t succeed, with 35 percent of the country’s population and production, New Zealand can’t succeed. It was good to see the Prime Minister recognise that,” Phil Goff said.
More details on the City Rail Link package no doubt will be teased out over the next wee while with the business case securing the full package due at the end of the year.