More to the point how is the Government doing?
A year ago Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff would stand in front of a sizeable crowd at Newmarket Station to launch the new version of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project otherwise known as the ATAP.
It would be the third version of the ATAP with the first two under the previous National administration. Unlike the pro-roads and lets drag out transit predecessors this new ATAP looked at putting transit first and grand motorway schemes on the back burner.
Presented in a glossy book with some glossy cards the ATAP would outline how the current Government would prioritise transport investment as well as the population growth in Auckland. Rather interestingly the ATAP would point out that Southern Auckland would be the largest and fastest growing sub-region of Auckland beating out the Isthmus.
So where are we a year later with the ATAP?
Well not very far I am afraid with delays all falling on the Government’s side rather than Auckland Council and Auckland Transport.
First of all the projects listed in the first decade of the ATAP:
Roading wise things are pretty much on track for all the projects including PENLINK, State Highway 20B and even Mill Road (due to start either late this year or early next year). East West Link would be the exception with that project lost down the rabbit hole with NZTA and the Minister refusing point blank to announce when Option B will be starting giving the City and Industry some final certainty!
Transit wise things fall over especially from the Government side of the ledger. Both Light Rail projects (North West Light Rail and City Centre to Mangere Light Rail) are beset with delays to the point the Government has prioritised one (CC2M) over the other which is not exactly in the spirit of the ATAP. Meanwhile the City Rail Link has final certainty with the main contracts announced while the Northern Busway being extended to Albany is well on track.
On the Auckland Transport side of the ledger things look brighter especially with two major projects BOTH in Southern Auckland. The Eastern Busway between Panmure to Pakuranga is well under construction with the Pakuranga to Botany section due to be completed around 2026. The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit line has altered from the ATAP concepts mainly through Stage 1 being extended beyond Puhinui and NZTA still refusing to rule out Light Rail for the entire Line.
The ATAP rather interestingly only have Airport to Botany go from the Airport to Puhinui Station in Decade 1 with the full Line to Botany being done some time in the future. Thanks to Auckland Transport pressing hard Stage 1 will continue to Manukau (its final stop will not be the Bus Station (hint)) with the full Line being completed 2028. Of note the Botany Interchange has been transferred from the Eastern Busway project to the Airport to Botany project which is a curious decision (I wonder what AT is thinking here).
Moving on we see that any indication of Pukekohe Electrification and the Third Main is currently slipped from the RADAR while NZTA have confirmed the Harbour Crossing to the North Shore will most likely be transit only (light rail).
The Auckland Transport Alignment Project one year on – how is it going?
Well from the Auckland Transport side of the coin ATAP is progressing well if the Eastern Busway and Airport to Botany Rapid Transit projects are anything to go by. Meanwhile from the Government and NZTA side of the coin things seem to be beset by delays – unless it is a roading project.
Given the population growth in Auckland it is good Auckland Transport is getting along with things as is NZTA with things like State Highway 20B (tied into AT’s Airport to Botany). However, delays in projects like Light Rail, the Third Main, Pukekohe Electrification and East West Link do take the gloss off things and give a measure of uncertainty to residents, commercial and industry.