Kiwi Rail should be split
If we are not debating housing we see to be debating rail. I don’t know why but rail seems to cause a very sharp divide and equally as divisive debate despite its economic benefits in both passenger and freight department.
With passenger movements at best a bus can move 144 people every five minutes while light rail is about 450 and heavy rail is 750 (a 6-car EMU set). So for medium and long distance movements of people like the parts Auckland covered by the Western and Southern Lines heavy rail would seem the obvious answer (also the Airport Line as well). Light Rail would suit the Isthmus, North Shore and Botany areas while buses are great for shuttling over short distances.
For freight a single DL class Locomotive hauling 50 wagons can remove up to 100 container or soft curtain trucks off the Southern Motorway lessening congestion there. Given rail is the most efficient land transport mode over land wouldn’t be wise to invest in the rail system? It seems not with this Government.
See trying telling Ministers to separate Kiwi Rail’s freight business (which is profitable) as a separate State Owned Enterprise with the tracks going to NZTA who handle the roads and it is like WOAH we can’t do that.
People like North Shore Councillor George Wood also struggle with this separation as well with his thinking like: why should the Road User Charges and petrol tax pay for rail if the tracks go to the National Land Transport Fund (NZTA)?
Well here are some reasons why:
1) The National Land Transport Fund already pays for passenger rail OPEX so why not freight rail CAPEX?
2) It is the National LAND Transport Fund not National ROAD Transport Fund
3) Given the tracks would be with NZTA, Kiwi Rail and Auckland Transport would pay track access fees, those fees go to the NLTF like petrol taxes and road user charges do
4) Investment from the NLTF to rail benefits everyone including industry to the point if Mainfreight (our biggest logistical firm) says more investment in rail is needed then Steven Joyce should not be rubbishing that proposal and see to it rail is invested properly.
For every truck and car that is off the road and onto rail because we have a strong functioning rail network system (linked back into the roading system via inter-modal hubs like Wiri and Metroport) that attracts users is one less car on our congested roading system.
If you want proof of how bad transport and our road fetish is affecting Auckland’s productivity then check this graph out:
Negative productivity most likely heavily influenced by our poor transport system. Given our roads have no capacity left for the most part and rail does where do you think investment should go?
Seems rail is the smart bet to me.