Local Board Updates Absent of Light Rail Information
While Airport to Botany Rapid Transit continues to move ahead (Stage 1 operational date is set for 2020 with possibly a March 2021 date if NZTA continue to fluff Auckland Transport around) I have noticed all mention of City Centre to Mangere Light Rail has slipped right off the RADAR in mentions.
About every four weeks I go surfing through the Southern Auckland Local Board agendas checking for Auckland Transport updates and anything else of significance that might need wider reporting or submissions. You can access the Auckland Council Agendas and Minutes HERE.
The Local Board Auckland Transport updates section contained information on what projects are happening and the progress of them. With the Southern Local Boards (Otahuhu-Mangere, Otara-Papatoetoe, Howick, Manurewa, Papakura and Franklin) this is where I check to see progress on projects like Airport to Botany Rapid Transit. These updates help form information requests, blog posts or direct questions to Elected Representatives. The updates also help keep Auckland Transport on the straight and narrow as well. An example of an Auckland Transport update with Airport to Botany Rapid Transit can be seen here: Airport to Botany Rapid Transit March Update via Otara/Papatoetoe Local Board Agenda.
So where is City Centre to Mangere Light Rail or in fact ANY Light Rail?
I was reading the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board Auckland Transport update and I noticed no mention of City Centre to Mangere Light Rail at all. Airport to Botany was certainly mentioned but not CC2M.
This was on A2B:
Airport to Botany Rapid Transport Network (RTN)
13. This project involves the New Zealand Transport Agency, Auckland Airport and Auckland Transport working together over a number of years to plan and build a bus or light rail link between these points to help deliver Auckland Transport’s public transport strategy and provide an east-west RTN that links Auckland Airport with Botany via Manukau.
14. Auckland Transport spent November and December 2018 discussing the project with the community and is currently consolidating this information into the plan.
15. Technical work and confirmation of the route has taken longer than planned. The project team now plans to meet with local board in April and May 2019.
16. The project also includes early improvements projects, including the new Puhinui Interchange that has progressed well. Contractors have finished the preliminary design works and Auckland Transport is technically reviewing it. Concurrently, Auckland Transport is working on a procuring a contractor for construction of the new station and planning its resource consent application.
17. The search for a construction contractor includes setting local procurement and sustainability criteria. Local boards are clear that a priority is making sure that local people and businesses are involved in major projects. Auckland Transport is working to make sure this priority is supported.
18. Auckland Transport also has other early work planned including improvements to walking and cycling networks around the new station. Planning for these networks is progressing well and when there are firm ideas, they will be discussed with the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.
Source: Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board
Bit of luck spades should be in the ground at Puhinui in May.
But as you can see quite detailed information on A2B but nothing on CC2M at all yet both Rapid Transit projects run right through the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board area.
So where is City Centre to Mangere and why has it now totally come off the RADAR with the Local Boards? Simply put it comes down to this:
Apparently no further comment from anyone while officials are considering expressions of interest.
That is NZTA have pretty much shut up shop and closed down all communications on CC2M while they consider a parallel but out-of-scope bid on CC2M by the Super Fund.
Not exactly the best way to treat the people nor industry who were looking forward to participating now is it? Also the Ombudsman is still investigating my complaint against NZTA against lack of information over CC2M, something I’ll follow up on today and see where that is.
That said I do wonder if New Zealand ever had the capability for Research and Evaluation into Light Rail in Auckland by those who actually know Light Rail and its impacts on the surrounding Urban Geography? Because it seems we have not enough Transport, Geographers and Engineers carrying out such research and evaluation work and rather a few too many financiers and politicians looking at shinny trains with no method of getting to the final destination.
Might be time for to make Airport to Botany actually Light Rail after all. Seems that would have more success in getting a light rail line going long before City Centre to Mangere ever gets theirs.