We’re now less than one month away from having a new mayor and later this week voting papers go out. Our friends at Generation Zero have once again been creating score cards for the mayoral and council candidates and they’ll be released later this week but in the meantime, I’ve taken a quick look through the transport policies of the main contenders and picked out what I think are the key points.
Goff’s policy definitely reads better than he’s presented it (from what I’ve seen so far). He makes many points not dissimilar to what we would say, such as “Given the population growth, trying to build our way out of congestion with roads alone will not work.”
His policy seems to show good nuance about transport issues and plans, or at least he’s had good advice on them. The plans contained are nothing revolutionary, if anything they largely mirror what is in current plans from Auckland Transport. Some key examples include:
- Battery powered trains to Pukekohe
- Improving Park & Ride but he specifies on outer parts of the network
- Extending the Northern Busway
- Building a North-western Busway on SH16
- Building AMETI to Pakuranga as soon as possible and extending that to ultimately East Tamaki and Manukau.
The biggest part of his policy though is Light Rail – initially mirroring AT’s plan of Wynyard and down Dominion Rd – and he wants to see a business case completed so that the project can be added to the 2018 Long Term Plan. He talks of future projects potentially including converting the AMETI busway, to the North Shore and the Airport.
Outside of the big PT stuff he also mentions a few other areas:
- Walking and cycling which includes encouraging the government to extend the Urban Cycleway Fund, talks about making it easier for kids to ride to school and says he wants a bike share scheme piloted through the private sector.
- For ferries he is calling for them to be integrated, by this I assume he means the routes of Devonport, Stanley Bay and Waiheke are contracted and controlled by AT rather than being commercial routes (the other routes are already contracted).
- He also talks about wanting more electric vehicles and car sharing.
The last and a big plank of Goff’s transport policy surrounds the need to find alternative sources of funding to pay for more transport projects, much like Len Brown has. He wants the government issue infrastructure bonds which would be paid back first by a regional fuel tax introduced quickly and later replaced by GPS based road pricing.
Goff’s transport policy is essentially to continue in the general direction the city is already heading – which is to say generally on the right track.
Crone says we need to get more people using public transport and she names a few PT projects she thinks are needed, such as the North-western Busway, AMETI and electrification to Pukekohe but also says the biggest issue is that people can’t get to PT because there are not enough Park & Rides. As we know, increasing Park & Ride isn’t going to have any so appreciable effect on patronage but if she can get private companies to pay for it like she claims, that would help offset some of the issue of them. I do agree with the need to improve feeder services though and a lot of improvement will come via the New Bus Network.
A lot of her policy centers around what she calls Smart Transport. This includes:
- real time tweaking of traffic lights
- more variable lane arterials – like AT is trialling on Whangaparaoa Rd.
- more sensors to track travel patterns
One of the more concerning comments relating to sensors is below and suggests bus and cycle lanes could be under threat if she was elected.
We will use this information to assess the efficacy of bus and cycle lanes throughout Auckland, ensuring we are not turning our roads into unproductive assets.
As well as the three big PT projects mentioned earlier, Crone also wants to focus on four expensive and low value roading projects
- Lake Rd
- Mill Rd
- Another Harbour Crossing (note to Crone, it’ll be the third crossing, not the second). For the AWHC she’s also pledged to try and convince the government to bring it forward by promising an initial contribution of $150 million, small change on a $5 billion+ project. She has also now said she wants to include some form of rapid transit connection as part of the project and would contribute an additional $600 million for that.
The last of Crones ideas on her website is to get AT to think about the future of transport including looking at autonomous vehicles, on demand PT services etc. This is odd giving the Ministry of Transport are already doing exactly this and this is already being considered as part of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project. In fact, many of the things she talks about are things already happening or are being assessed by ATAP.
Just yesterday she released this post suggesting she wants the price of parking in the city reduced until such time as PT is good enough – no definition of what that is.
Thomas’ biggest idea is to push transport decisions for ‘sub-regional and local transport’ projects to a more local level by splitting up the decision making at Auckland Transport into six regional transport boards. The boards would cover the north, west, central, east, south and rural/islands areas. I can’t see how this would be either effective or save money like he claims.
On PT he says he wants a ‘New Hybrid Mass Transport Plan’ but it is not clear how this is actually any different from what AT have been proposing. He does talk about the need to extend the Northern Busway, North-western Busway and extending rail to the South – by which I assume he means electrification.
Thomas says his focus is on getting more money out of the council from re-prioritising first but also doesn’t rule out congestion charging in the future.
He says is top 10 regional projects to focus on are below. Some are okay but others are odd, for example since when is a train station at Selwyn a regional priority.
- The Penlink investigation ($200m – PPP candidate)
- Supporting extension of the Northern bus way (NZTA principal funder)
- A specific option to improve Lake Road (cost not yet clear but Indicative Business Case underway)
- A North-western bus way to Westgate (NZTA principal funding)
- A new Selwyn rail station (likely cost $25m)
- Dominion Road upgrade ($45m)
- Stage 2 of AMETI (the Pakuranga to Panmure bus way – $550 in current LTP from 2021)
- Rapid transit to the airport (cost not clear, although light rail/heaving rails options currently $2billion – potential PPP candidate)
- The Mill Road extension ($400m – potential PPP candidate)
- Future rail planning to the south (cost not yet clear)
In my view Chloe has one of the better transport policies and talks about how giving people a choice in how they get around by focusing investment in PT and active modes will also help those who are driving to also get around.
For PT she specifically mentions our Congestion Free Network as something that inspired her thinking and notes it is essentially what is on AT’s plans but she wants to bring the timing of projects forward so we aren’t still waiting for 30 years for it to be completed.
She says on PT she will prioritise:
- Increasing frequency and continuity of public transport on our current networks
- Rail to Auckland Airport (light or heavy)
- Growth of feeder services
- Rail on Auckland’s second harbour crossing
- Trialling routes destined for rail with uncongested busways
- Working with central government to ensure public transport infrastructure is given proper priority – over and above new roads
It’s good to see someone suggesting trialling routes with buses first before jumping to rail, much as Patrick suggested last week.
Chloe says walking and cycling needs to be taken seriously and she “will work to see that all new (inevitable) roading developments are accompanied by safe cycling areas, demarcated from the road, alongside”. Given her comments, while I’m sure it’s implied, I thought she might have also mentioned making existing roads safe too.
Palino’s transport policy is contained within his 97 page book on his plans for Auckland. Unfortunately, I think his views are a rambling pile of rubbish and are based on fundamental errors, misunderstandings and a general case of avoiding reality. Ever since I first saw it I’ve had to resist an almost line by line take-down of it. It is clear he is opposed to the very idea of the city and his key policy is to create a new ‘Satellite City’ somewhere between Drury and Pukekohe where all future growth can happen because we shouldn’t change any existing suburbs. It’s not clear how this new city is any different to the previous attempts at the same thing (e.g. Albany, Botany, Manukau, Westgate/Massey North).
Along with hating the CBD, he also hates projects associated with it such as the City Rail Link which is clear he would cancel if at all possible. His transport pledges are:
- Free Auckland of a CBD focus and stop attempting to only move people to and from the CBD.
- No congestion charges on existing roads.
- Toll Roads to be built where there is a sound business case for building them.
- Review expenditure on cycleways.
- Review parking at Park & Ride stations within the first three months of being elected, and provide a plan for increasing parking within twelve months.
- Move forward on roading projects with good cost benefit ratios and need to begin, such as the East West link and the second harbour crossing.
- Integrate Transport in a growth plan that eliminates future congestion by allowing the development of new intensive suburbs along the transport spine, providing Aucklanders the opportunity to live close to where they work, or have affordable housing close to existing transport infrastructure.
Are there any key parts to their policies I missed or any other candidates with notable policy?
Also note, the Campaign for Better Transport are holding a mayoral candidate transport debate on tomorrow night.