#LetsDoThis Phil and NZTA!
The article was meant to be on NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency) extending the North West Light Rail Transit line from finishing in Westgate to now Kumeu. However, it was the gems delivered by the NZTA CEO about the two Airport Lines that would capture attention the most.
From the NZ Herald:
Auckland’s $6 billion plan for modern trams could extend to Kumeu
Major changes are on the way for Auckland’s $6 billion light rail programme, including extending the modern day version of trams to Kumeu in the northwest.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald, NZTA chief executive Fergus Gammie said the plan for trams from the CBD to Westgate will probably be extended to Kumeu.
Gammie also revealed that NZTA believes that the best route between the CBD and the airport is by train to Puhinui and transferring to buses or trams for the 6km leg to the airport.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/IHxvGz
The language has changed from busses to the Airport to now busses OR trams
The previous language can be seen here:
Labour has promised to build light rail from the CBD to the airport and West Auckland within a decade, described as a “game changer” by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Labour’s plans for fast public transport separated from vehicles, known as rapid transit, also include a busway running from Botany to Puhinui train station, and onto the airport.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/Bv5QvV
So NZTA are now saying Puhinui/Manukau to the Airport (which is Decade 1 under the ATAP) is now busses or trams and that the Southern Airport Line serves as the express route to the Airport – as I have always said when people ask about the Northern Airport Line (Airport to City Centre via Dominion Road).
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Phil Twyford issued a brief statement, saying the minister was on the same page as Gammie and there was nothing more he could add.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/REQeWq
This is good as the Minister is on the same page as NZTA meaning if NZTA does deliver Light Rail for the Manukau to Airport section of the Southern Airport Line the Minister is supportive of it and will be consistent in taking a Mode Neutral approach – meaning if LRT stacks up it will be built.
It has been noted in the past about NZTA taking over all four Rapid Transit Network Lines and something I picked up on earlier:
The changes have been made after Labour handed over responsibility for light rail from Auckland Transport to the transport agency, which is going from being a road builder to looking at all forms of transport to benefit people and communities.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/VVwnKp
Finally this from the NZTA CEO:
The transport agency still intends to build a $3.7b line for modern trams, referred to as light rail, from the CBD to the airport but sees the line as combining transport and development opportunities along the corridor, Gammie said.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/3tbPGV
This is extremely good from NZTA in that not only are they building transit lines but also trying it in with urban development as well. This is known as Integrated Land Use/Transport Planning or Transit Orientated Developments. Both are required by the Government Policy Statement (for Transport) and a topic I have written on before. While the CEO was covering the Northern Airport Line in this instance the Southern Airport Line is extremely rich in TOD opportunities as well: The Southern Airport Line – More than a Light Rail Line – A Community and City Builder Too!
I am aware NZTA is building capability to deliver TOD’s given Auckland Transport has expressed no interest or even value in them what so ever (makes Panuku’s work that much harder than it should as they DO value TODs). If NZTA is reading this post I would like to offer my Urban Geography services on Integrated Land Use/Transport Planning and delivery with at least the Botany to Airport line (or any of the others) – my portfolio can be read HERE and I can be reached by email at Ben.R001@gmail.com
Excellent news coming out of NZTA and it looks like we are inching closer to Light Rail for Southern Auckland as well. Advocacy will continue to the Minister and NZTA to get that LRT over the line and running – at least from Manukau to the Airport in first instance then extended out to Botany soon after.