Tag: Transport

Mainfreight Makes Case For Rail

And as an authority on freight movement Government should listen

Which it wont

After Richard Prebble made his case with rail (Prebble on Rail – Commit To It!) our largest freight mover – Mainfreight has also made its call for more on rail. Given that Mainfreight is what I would consider an authority on moving our freight around AND uses both truck and rail (even has its own private rail sidings in Otahuhu and Southdown) the Government and Labour should pay attention to what they say. Sadly though given the performance of both National and Labour through history I know they won’t.

But let’s see what Mainfreight had to say. From The NBR:

Mainfreight throws weight behind KiwiRail, laments lack of national transport strategy

Mainfreight [NZX: MFT] chairman Bruce Plested has criticised what he says is the government’s lack of a national transport plan, throwing his support behind state-owned rail operator KiwiRail and calling it an integral part of the infrastructure.

Speaking to shareholders at today’s annual meeting in Auckland, Mr Plested said the government and the Treasury had treated rail appallingly since it was sold in 1992 and repurchased in 2006, and that policymakers lack a strategy for transport infrastructure considering road, rail and ports.

“Without rail, our opportunities for passenger transport are restricted, our desperation for more roads intensifies to the point of impossibility, and our options for port locations become hopelessly restricted,” Plested said. “How on earth could the Treasury not see these connections, and our government not see the need for an overall strategy?”

Plested, who last year donated $35,000 to the National Party and $100,000 to the Maori Party, was responding to Treasury advice to the government this year recommending closing major parts of the rail network.

Earlier this month, fellow Mainfreight director Richard Prebble, who oversaw widespread job cuts when he was railways minister in the 1980s, wrote an opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald newspaper urging officials to reassess the cost of forcing freight to use roads and the congestion it would cause.

Managing director Don Braid said the company was a strong supporter of rail, with current and future roading not capable of meeting Mainfreight’s needs, according to presentation slides accompanying his speech.

Mr Braid said the company wants more positive support for long-term rail infrastructure, and Mainfreight is continuing to invest in facilities at or near rail-serviced property..


Source and full article: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/mainfreight-throws-weight-behind-kiwirail-laments-lack-national-transport-strategy-b-176311

Source: http://www.kiwirailfreight.co.nz/
Source: http://www.kiwirailfreight.co.nz/

Again it comes down to a few things:

  1. Lack of a coordinated strategy which again a Planning Ministry like the Australian States have. Such a Planning Ministry would be able to “coordinate” (at this rate coerce) between Kiwi Rail, NZTA, Ports, and Councils. This would allow the creation inter-regional Super Plans like one for the entire Upper North Island that then everyone would have a framework to follow (and make investment between Public and Private sector that much more easier)
  2. Splitting Kiwi Rail into two. The tracks go to NZTA and the freight/passenger side to a separate State Owned Enterprise open to full competition. Heck you could even list 49% on the NZX to which Fonterra, Mainfreight, Port of Tauranga and (yeah I know) Auckland Council via Auckland Council Investment Limited) could take stakes in.
  3. Blind ideology which both Labour and National are at fault of

So with Auckland’s productivity continuing to drop (mainly due to transport) we have two choices and rather simple choices at that:

  1. Continue to forget rail and invest in roads and really watch productivity and environment slip
  2. Invest in rail rather than “highways” (as well as coastal shipping) which our competing cities and economies are doing. If their productivity goes up from this then why are we so slow in following them.

From Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board on the East-West Link

In Case you missed it last week


A release from the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board in light of the Infrastructure Committee’s decisions around the East West Link last week:

Community engagement on East West Link welcomed


Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board has welcomed this week’s announcement of a more collaborative approach to the East West Link transport project.

The project is looking at options to improve links between the south-west and south-east of Auckland and ease congestion.

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chair Lydia Sosene said the announcement by Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency was a positive step that would help to address community concerns.

“We are very pleased that there will be a more co-operative approach with key stakeholders in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu area. This is the position this board has been advocating for.”

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board has been in on-going discussions with Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency regarding the East West Link.

“From the start, we have made it clear that we do not support any option that would see a motorway cut through our residential areas. This is what our communities have told us and we will continue to advocate on this issue on their behalf,” Ms Sosene says.

“We have also asked for more options to be investigated. Better public transport, connectivity and transport infrastructure are major priorities for our area. We support the need to address transport issues and find solutions.

“The board is looking forward to continuing discussions with Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency and our communities about this important issue.”



More on the happening of the East West Link in the related links below:


Catch Up

After a Busy Day


Another one is in store


Yesterday was a busy day for me in the CBD with the Manukau as The Second CBD presentation to the Auckland Plan Committee, and the Generation Zero Unitary Plan Youth Event. Monday night was the Karaka Collective presentation on the Karaka North and West Rural Urban Boundary and THAT bridge which I also need to write up on.

As a result I need to catch up on a few emails and blog post of the events, as well as what is coming up next with the Unitary Plan


BR:AKL Commentary will cover today and tomorrow:

  • The Karaka Collective Presentation on Monday night (must request the presentation from Peter Fuller)
  • The Manukau as the Second CBD of Auckland presentation to the Auckland Committee
  • The Resolutions of the Orakei Local Board on Special Character Zones
  • The Generation Zero Unitary Plan Youth Forum
  • Post May 31 Consultation on the Unitary Plan
  • And for a Transport Issue – the Transport Committee discussing the Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP)



BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress

The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change

Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL


To Better (Auckland’s) Transport

Work Starts Now!


So while some are nursing off hang-overs from what seems to be a quiet New Years in New Zealand (while the American’s delayed the Fiscal Cliff just that little bit longer), some in between outdoor (or indoor) projects and sunning themselves in this beautiful weather are preparing for the work ahead – To Better (Auckland) Transport.


Now that it’s a new year and free from the earlier restrains in transport commentary, BR:AKL can continue to focus in a more steadfast manner advancement in Bettering Auckland’s Transport. That means I can bring off the ice some ideas and concepts that were previously frozen and bring them back into the light for commentary, discussion and lobbying. One such idea/concept that is being brought off to the ice and back to the forefront is my Rail Efficiency Program that I introduced in August last year:




How to get Better Resilience out of the Rail Network


A Rail Efficiency Program Series




In this new series, I be running posts on how we can get more resilience thus punctuality and reliability in the existing Auckland Rail Network prior to the City Rail Link opening. In this post I will give a an introduction to the Rail Efficiency Program which was briefly mentioned in my submission to The Auckland Plan.


Those who travel on Auckland’s passenger rail network as I do on a regular basis know the frustration when your train is delayed or even worse cancelled due either some kind of fault, breakdown, accident, pesky freight train in the way, congestion at pinch-points (such as Puhinui, Otahuhu-Westfield, or Newmarket), and/or the effects of an earlier disruption still snowballing through the network affecting the train you are on. Now there are some things either happening or in the pipeline that will help reduce the frustrations and disruptions such as:


You can read the rest of that particular post through clicking on the respective link.


How as it alludes to; the idea behind the REP is to invest in current infrastructure to get maximum performance and resilience out of it before diving in and investing large sums of money into brand new infrastructure (the City Rail Link being one of those new pieces of infrastructure). This article from the New York Times forwarded to me by an acquaintance highlights a view-point on the worth of investing in existing infrastructure:


From the New York Times:

The Virtues of Investing in Transportation

Improving the existing transportation infrastructure can create jobs and increase productivity, studies have found. Construction began last year to replace Doyle Drive, which carries commuters between the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.Jim Wilson/The New York TimesImproving the existing transportation infrastructure can create jobs and increase productivity, studies have found. Construction began last year to replace Doyle Drive, which carries commuters between the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco.
Today's Economist

Laura D’Andrea Tyson is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and served as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. She currently serves on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and its infrastructure subgroup.

Years of under-investing in the nation’s transportation infrastructure are apparent in congested roads, freight bottlenecks, airport delays and overcrowded or nonexistent public transit operations. Yet the heated debate in Washington about how much and how fast to slash government spending is overlooking how a significant, sustained increase in infrastructure investment would create jobs and strengthen the nation’s competitiveness.

Infrastructure spending, adjusted for inflation and accounting for the depreciation of existing assets, is at about the same level it was in 1968, when the economy was one-third smaller. Public investment on transportation and water infrastructure as a share of gross domestic product has fallen steadily since the 1960s and now stands at 2.4 percent, compared with 5 percent in Europe and more than 9 percent in China.

Experts differ on how much more is needed but agree the amount is substantial.

The American Society of Civil Engineers, for example, estimates that we need to spend an additional $110 billion a year to maintain the transportation infrastructure at current performance levels. The Congressional Budget Office reported in May that simply maintaining the current performance of the system would require the federal government to increase its annual spending on highways by about one-third, while state and local governments that account for about 55 percent of capital spending on the highway system would have to increase their annual spending by similar or larger amounts.

Financing highway projects whose economic benefits exceed their costs would necessitate more than a doubling of federal investment on highway infrastructure from its 2010 level of $43 billion. All these estimates apply only to shortfalls in economically justifiable spending on transportation and highways; they do not include other critical infrastructure areas, like water, energy and broadband.

Government spending on infrastructure raises demand, creates jobs and increases the supply and growth potential of the economy over time. The C.B.O. says infrastructure spending is one of the most effective fiscal policies for increasing output and employment and one of the most cost-effective forms of government spending in terms of the number of jobs created per dollar of budgetary cost.

Studies indicate that each $1 billion of infrastructure spending creates 11,000 (estimate of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers) to 30,000 jobs (estimate of the Department of Transportation for infrastructure spending on highways) through direct and indirect effects.

Most of these jobs are added in construction and related sectors, hard hit by the housing crisis, and most of them are relatively well paid, with wages between the 25th and the 75th percentile of the national wage distribution.

Public infrastructure enables the private sector. A modern transportation infrastructure improves private-sector productivity by reducing production and transportation costs, and facilitating trade, economies of scale and efficient production methods.

Not surprisingly, the quality of transportation infrastructure is a major factor affecting business decisions about where to locate production, and the eroding quality of infrastructure is making the United States a less attractive place to do business.

According to the 2010-11 competitiveness report of the World Economic Forum, the United States now ranks 23rd among 139 countries on the overall quality of its infrastructure — between Spain and Chile. In 1999, the United States ranked seventh.

The Obama administration’s budget request for $556 billion for the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill over the next six years is an important first step. But how the money is spent also matters. Because of political considerations, a large fraction of federal infrastructure spending currently finances projects aimed at building capacity rather than maintaining existing capacity.

Yet recent evidence indicates both that the returns on projects to expand capacity have been falling over time and that projects to maintain capacity often enjoy higher returns.

In a time of budget austerity, the allocation of scarce federal dollars for infrastructure must be guided by cost-benefit analysis — rather than by earmarks and formula-based grants, as is currently the case. That’s why the Obama administration is calling for the use of performance criteria and “race to the top” competition among state and local governments to allocate federal spending among competing projects.

That’s also why both the administration and a bipartisan group — led by Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts; Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas; and Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia — have proposed the creation of a national infrastructure bank.

Such a bank would focus on transformative projects of national significance, like the creation of a high-speed rail system or the modernization of the air traffic control system. Such projects are neglected by the formula-driven processes now used to distribute federal infrastructure funds among states and regions.

The bank would also provide greater certainty about the level of federal funds for multiyear projects by removing those decisions from the politically volatile annual appropriations process and would select projects based on transparent cost-benefit analysis by independent experts.

The bank would be granted authority to create partnerships with private investors on individual projects, and these would increase the funds available and foster greater efficiency in project selection, operation and maintenance. Such partnerships — common in Europe and other parts of the world — often result in earlier completion of projects, lower costs and better maintenance of infrastructure compared with investments made solely by public entities.

Despite rapid growth in the last decade, such partnerships are still rare in the United States. Why? Because infrastructure decisions are fragmented, with states, cities and municipalities owning their own assets and applying their own political and economic criteria to potential deals with private investors. Several states do not have legislation authorizing partnerships and no guidelines exist for how decisions will be made.

One obstacle may be gone: Representative James Oberstar, Democrat of Minnesota and the previous chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, opposed these partnerships and urged state and local officials to avoid them. He lost his seat in 2010, and Representative John Mica, Republican of Florida, who now heads the committee, supports the partnership concept.

Improving infrastructure investment decisions through cost-benefit analysis and public-private partnerships is one way to realize larger returns on scarce investment dollars.

Applying congestion pricing or tolls and fees to make private users pay a larger share of the total cost of their infrastructure use is another. Drivers do not currently pay the full costs of their driving, and those substantial costs — including traffic delays, accidents and damage to roads — are borne by other drivers and society.

Congestion pricing and more reliance on tolls would relieve the economic and social costs of congestion; it would give clearer signals about the demand for different types of infrastructure, and it would reduce the required amount of infrastructure investment. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that widespread use of congestion pricing would reduce the necessary investment in highways by about $20 billion a year. But congestion pricing, despite its successes in London and elsewhere, is likely to encounter vociferous opposition, as Mayor Bloomberg learned when he proposed a reasonable plan for New York City.

Even as we slash other forms of government spending, we must invest more in our infrastructure.


Now the idea behind an Infrastructure (Investment) Bank is an idea in my opinion as a transport advocate a worthy idea to investigate for Auckland and wider New Zealand – especially as the CRL and North Shore (Rail) Line projects come up on the plans and “books.” But the moot point on investing in existing infrastructure is the point I am hammering home – with the Rail Efficiency Program! The REP is also one of the main reasons why (finance being the other) I advocate in delaying the City Rail Link for 3-5 years in start date, so that the existing infrastructure is up to scratch before adding a major piece of new infrastructure that could and would simply overwhelm the existing infrastructure in place.

So as my hearing for the Regional Public Transport Hearing in February (where I sit before Councillor Mike Lee, Mark Lambert, Peter Clark and Paul Locky (so fun times on a roll as it seems it is half of the Auckland Transport Board 😛 )) draws closer, I will further expand on the Rail Efficiency Program and decide whether to go into bat with it at the RPTP hearing to a certain extent.


Regardless however the goal in the transport “wing” of “Shining the Light for a Better Auckland” remains the same:- To Better (Auckland’s) Transport



Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

Back to the Table – Again

Bus Drivers Reject Latest Offer


Not so sure what to think here but it would seem NZ Bus Drivers have rejected their latest pay offer from NZ Bus who run Auckland’s  Metrolink, Waka Pacific, Go West, North Star and Link (City, Inner and Outer) bus fleet.

This is from my inbox this morning (Saturday):


Results of Auckland bus drivers ballot

 Bus drivers have voted against a revised proposal from NZ Bus for their collective employment agreement. 

The vote was 51% against ratifying the proposed settlement, and 49% in favour. 

Drivers voted by secret ballot at their different bus depots over the past week and a Company lawyer was present to supervise the counting of the vote. 

Spokesperson for the bus unions, Karl Andersen, said that the voter turnout was very good.  There were very few union members that didn’t vote. 

“After careful consideration of the offer, drivers are still of the view that they don’t earn enough to provide for themselves and their families,” he said. 

Karl Andersen said despite some movement from NZ Bus, both the amount offered by the company, and a delayed implementation of pay increases, was still a core issue for drivers. 

The unions are considering their options at the moment and will make some decisions about next steps early next week, he said. 


On Monday we will probably hear what is next in store for NZ Bus, its union workers, and bus commuters. Hopefully no more strikes…



Response from AT

Letter From AT on RLTP


Got a letter from Auckland Transport acknowledging and thanking my submission to the Regional Land Transport Program. The letter I will show in the embed below, but upon reading it I can appreciate what could be just about literal hell for everyone concerned as the city goes about not building a world-class transport system – but rebuilding the existing system so THEN we can build that world-class system (the only other method is start afresh and I don’t think we will like that option much (Christchurch?))


The letter from AT on the RLTP and difficulties that are going to be faced:


And as I write this, the CRL debate is still going around and around the same circle again – more on that later