A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport – that’s why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. share on twitter
“Let’s get Auckland moving by building a light rail network and accelerating investment in heavy rail and bus rapid transit. This is crucial to Auckland’s future growth.
“A world-class city in the 21st century needs a rail connection from its CBD to its airport. Auckland needs this now. Labour’s going to accelerate the solutions to Auckland’s transport problems.
“I believe Labour’s plan is a game-changer. It will reduce the $2 billion a year that congestion costs Auckland. It will realise Auckland’s potential to be a truly world class city.
“Labour will build light rail to Mt Roskill in four years, to the airport and West Auckland within a decade, followed by a line connecting the North Shore to the CBD.
“We’ll also build a Bus Rapid Transit service connecting the airport and East Auckland, and a third main trunk rail line to serve the commuter and freight rail traffic.
“We’ll free up funding by getting better value for money from the East-West Link, and give Auckland the ability to fund its share of the investments through a regional fuel tax, infrastructure bonds, and targeted rates.
“Investing in high quality modern public transport is the best way to unclog our roads. This will ensure Auckland can grow and meet the needs of all who live and work in this great city.
“It’s time to get on with it. It’s time to get Auckland moving. Let’s do this,” says Jacinda Ardern.
- Build light rail from the CBD to Auckland airport. This will be part of a new light rail network that will be built over the next decade with routes to the central suburbs, the Airport, and West Auckland, and will later be extended to the North Shore.
- Build a new Bus Rapid Transit line from Howick to the Airport, starting with a bus service which will connect Puhinui train station to the Airport in one year.
- Invest in more electric trains and build a third main trunk line urgently between Wiri and Papakura,
- Allow Auckland Council to collect a regional fuel tax to fund the acceleration of these investments, along with infrastructure bonds and targeted rates.
They’ve also adopted our CFN map to show the projects they’re proposing.
and this table
Here are a few thoughts about the announcement
- Overall, I thought it was good and it was appreciated that Jacinda called out us and our friends at Bike Auckland and Generation Zero
- I quite liked the line “Auckland needs to be a world class city, we can be a world class city, but that will take world class, 21st century transport, that is what we need“. Also, her comments about how transport isn’t just about transport but how we connect with our city, communities and families.
- I particularly liked how Jacinda mentioned about how rail to the airport was not just about the airport but also about serving the communities of the south west that are on the route, a critical point often forgotten in the debate.
- They specifically call out some of the ways they’ fund the additional infrastructure they plan to build including regional fuel taxes and scaling back the East-West Link.
- I was a bit disappointed that Labour are using the bogus congestion cost figure of $2b. On that topic, Simon Wilson over at The Spinoff wrote a great piece about it on the weekend.
- It’s cool that they’ve used our CFN map but it’s also a shame they’ve removed some of the key routes that either exist or are happening regardless of the election, such as the Western Line and the Eastern Busway. I get they’re trying to show the projects that they’ll prioritise but one of the key points of the CFN is to highlight that it is about building a complete network rather than having an individual project focus. As a reminder, here’s the full map
The announcement from Labour follows on from Friday’s leak of National’s transport policy for the city, which they also formally announced yesterday, a few hours after Labour. The optics of it were certainly not lost on me National holding their announcement at Papakura station, on a day when no trains were running due to among other things, motorway works. It’s worth noting that their announcement also included $37 million in improvements to Wellington’s rail network, most of which was to double track to Upper Hutt. It’s also interesting in their Q&A section where they talk about how it will mean Auckland’s new battery powered trains could then be used to serve Pokeno. That’s notable because legislation specifically lists inter-regional PT services as ‘exempt’ and therefore not eligible for NZTA subsidies. Lastly on National, it’s worth noting the language they’ve used in the 1News segment embedded in this piece, Bill English talks about how light rail to airport is a good project and Simon Bridges talks about rail taking hundreds of cars off the road.
What’s already noticeable is just how much transport appears to be shaping up as a key topic this election. This is a change from previous elections where it is often a minor footnote compared to topics such as the economy, health and education, despite being an area that can affect all three (and others). This is also despite the transport policies of the major parties probably being arguably the closest they’ve been for years with the debate focusing on the level of PT investment, not whether it should exist. Who knows, perhaps normal transmission will resume over the coming seven weeks and transport policy will disappear into the background, I certainly hope it doesn’t though.