Just two projects but with major if not critical consequences
Yesterday was the last day that both Public Authorities and private businesses or individuals could send in projects for consideration by the Crown Infrastructure Partners – Infrastructure Industry Reference Group. That consideration would be whether projects stalled by Covid-19 could attract Government funding to get them back on track.
The web page covering this can be seen here: Infrastructure Industry Reference Group (IIRG)
The projects to be considered needed to have:
- Economic/Social/Environmental benefits; and
- Regional/Nationwide benefits.
As well as:
Ministers will be particularly interested in investments that modernise the economy and set it up to enhance sustainable productivity into the future rather than those that replicate the current economic arrangements.https://www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/iirg/
In line with Treasury’s Living Standards Framework and Sustainable Development Goals, consideration will also be given at a high level to whether a project brings real value (in an economic, social and/or environmental sense) to New Zealand as a whole or the region in which it is located.
Basically any project submitted must lean heavy into social outcomes (environment will enter this like more trees) and have at least regional but if possible national benefits. The Status Quo or any project that promotes the status quo would be frowned upon.
I have seen the list Hamilton sent in and I have seen the list Auckland Council sent in (see: Auckland’s post COVID-19 Stimulus List). Needless to say and all I’ll say is Hamilton met the CIP objectives above while Auckland had me underwhelmed – even with the Marae and Hayman Park projects that did have social and environmental outcomes to the region.
A2B and A2O as projects to consider
As I noted at the beginning of the post private individuals or businesses could submit projects for consideration providing the Public Benefit could be realised.
So I sent in two projects. Just two, but both which have large social benefits that are also NATIONAL benefits as well.
They were Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Stage 2 (full busway from the Airport to Botany via Puhinui and Manukau) and Airport to Onehunga as a truncated but fast tracked part project of the City Centre to Mangere project. It is of note that A2O would be buses not light rail and treated as an extension of A2B given mode compatibility.
Why A2B Stage 2 and A2O?
- Social: the corridors go through areas due to receive major housing intensification including 10,000 new homes in Mangere and 20,000 residents in the Our Manukau area. Developers are also putting land parcels together along Te Irirangi Drive ready for mixed use intensification as well. So with more housing lets get the transit in so people do not need a car to get to work, school, study or amenities
- Environmental: less cars = less pollution
- Economic: this is where nationwide benefits kick over and I’ll go through this below
A2B and A2O would connect up large residential areas to equally large employment areas. Your residential areas include:
- Flat Bush
Large employment areas whether industrial or Metropolitan Centres
- Onehunga (heavy industry)
- Airport and surrounds (logistics)
- Puhinui Gateway (light industry complex to begin urban development)
- Wiri (heavy industry)
- Manukau (secondary City Centre or super Metropolitan Centre)
- East Tamaki (industry)
- Botany (Metropolitan Centre)
As soon as Industry is mentioned the benefits go nationwide in terms of jobs, production and downstream support and I have mentioned five industrial complexes A2B and A2O run through or would be connected to via feeder buses.
Total cost of A2B and A2O together was $500m for physical construction including busways, depots and stations. There is procurment of the buses to allow 10 minute frequencies all day every day and of course jobs provided ranging from drivers, to rolling stock maintainers to customer service staff at stations.
The project is not particularly large compared to Light Rail nor overly expensive as a lot of existing infrastructure is repurposed rather than being built from scratch.
Yes I have said A2B and A2O should be light rail but given the situation and what Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones was looking for, busways for A2B and A2O are most suitable at this time with Light Rail looked at in a decade’s time!
~$600m by the time procurement is done to deliver local, regional and nationwide benefits at social, economic and environmental levels. $600m to also enable the wider development of housing, amenities and jobs that not only benefit the South but the nation as a whole.
Hence why I submitted Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Stage 2, and Airport to Onehunga (as a bus way, truncated from City Centre to Mangere Light Rail) to the CIP Infrastructure Reference Group for consideration.