City Rail Link is Safe
Okay the subtitle for this post – Pukekohe Electrification Builds Steam is a nice play on words seeming the trains will be electrics, not steam engines.
Puns aside I managed to attend the back-end of the Transport Committee today after attending the first part of the Papakura Local Board meeting this morning. As I walked into the Transport Committee meeting this morning I must have just come into a pile of excitement and some Auckland Transport “moments” as there was quite a pitched debate going on. Now with the AT moment – I shall cover that in another post but for the moment let’s talk Pukekohe.
It has been mentioned since I reported on the November Transport Committee that steam is building (all hail the English language) to get the rail line from Papakura (where the current electrification will end) to Pukekohe electrified, as well as building two new stations at Drury and Paerata – both complete with bus bays and Park and Ride facilities. Now the cost of this project stands at $102m and has a Benefit Cost Ratio of 2.1. So for every dollar put in, you get $2.10 in investment return. Now for more on the actual project, please read the agenda below AND the case for Pukekohe Electrification also below.
Now apart from Councillor Casey’s sidetrack into the V8s in which depending on class of train, you can move between 284-700 passengers per train between Papakura to Pukekohe (answering that question of hers) the Transport Committee has thrown their full weight behind the Electrification and Station building project which (as Councillor Fletcher put it) an exciting moment for those in Counties (and in part South) Auckland. Now of course at $102m, Auckland Transport and the Council Strategy and Finance Committee (who oversee all things money within Council) are going to have to err rearrange budgets and finances to get the project within the current (oh I hate this saying – thanks Ruth Richardson) 2012-2022 Long Term Plan Fiscal Envelope. That is unless a special request is done to lug the project in there and seek extra money from the ratepayers – a move not wise as it creates precedent and makes the LTP a redundant exercise.
So Council and AT are going to have to have a long conversation on all things money as something from the budget is going to have to be dropped or put back. Nasty I know but hey, even Rebekka and I have to do it to our budget and finances at home when a capital project comes up outside the standard project – something else in that budget is just going to have to be put back.
However the wheels of progress are turning and fail the Governing Body doing a total back-flip, we should see the electrification extended to Pukekohe by 2018. Exciting times ahead
Oh any chance of squeezing in the $4m Manukau South (Rail) Link to be included with this project – just asking.
As for the City Rail Link
Ladies and gentlemen, I can safely say and be personally reassured that the City Rail Link is safe on the Council side of things (Central Government is something else) and that the project will advance from the Council side – although what exact time frame won’t actually be known until around 2014 when the new Council is installed and up and running. Now this is of course we do not get a total flip-out on Council and have every single new Councillor anti-rail.
However conversations I have had has given me this personal reassurance that the CRL will advance – subject to Central Government funding of course and that this project is supported by the majority of the Centre Left and Centre Right despite rumblings in the media and social media.
I am pleased ideology is being put behind in a particular case and that pragmatism and forward vision is rather in play instead. And whoever did release that draft report which curtailed the CRL has probably done more harm than good out of the exercise, so I am not particularly impressed and neither are others.
So we go forward and work continues on this multi-billion dollar mega project. Yes there are questions and work still be needing to be answered and done – but at least come hell or high-water this critical project continues to advance.
I give a nod and thanks to a particular individual for giving me that reassurance – for that I am thankful for (and I believe the city would be as well).
Agenda for Transport Committee – December 2012
Pukekohe Electrification Case