The City Rail Link, the country’s biggest transport project, just got $1 billion bigger but also few steps closer to reality as part of three “significant announcements” made yesterday.

Revised Costs

The biggest news is that the project is now expected to cost $4.419 billion, up from the $3.4 billion figure that they say was last estimated in 2014. CRL’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney said yesterday the cost increase has come about as a result of more detailed investigations and peer reviews of the costs. One billion is a huge increase but it also needs to be put in perspective and CRL gave a breakdown of what has driven those higher costs.

  • Future proofing – $250m – Last year it was announced that the CRL would be future proofed for 9-car trains and that at K Rd the second, and in my view more important, entrance at Beresford Square would be built. In our view this spend is a bargain as it  gives a 50% increase to the capacity of the CRL – meaning the project will ultimately give the rail network four times the capacity we have today.
  • Contingency costs – $310m- Contingency costs have been increased which Sweeney said was to bring the project into line with other large international projects.
  • Construction costs – $327m – This is the single biggest of the increases and is representative of how much construction is going on right now, both here and Australia. It’s an issue that many other projects are struggling with and has been responsible for the collapse of a number of construction companies already. Sweeney said that when the 2014 project estimate assumed cost escalation of 2% however New Zealand has been experiencing increases of 6% and is likely to continue to do so. He also noted:

Less than two years ago, the infrastructure pipeline in Australasia valued approximately $80 billion, whereas it is now valued at approximately $230 billion.

I think this also highlights that some of these extra costs should also be laid at the door of the previous government who delayed the project for years. Had they got on with the project when the initial business case came out in 2010 instead of rubbishing it and saying that no one would catch trains, perhaps at least some of this could have been avoided.

  • Non-direct costs – $152m – Other costs not directly associated with construction have also increased and have added $152 million. This includes things like property purchases, service relocations etc.

The good news is that despite the billion dollar increase, both the council and government appear committed to getting the project built. Both parties share costs 50/50 so will need to find an extra $500 million. Mayor Phil Goff is clearly not happy with the 50/50 arrangement, and understandably so, saying this in a press release yesterday.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “It is unfair for Aucklanders to meet half the cost of the CRL when no other part of the country has to do so and I’ve argued that case to Government. The Government has refused to revisit the deal saying that was what was agreed between the previous Auckland Council and National Government.

“However, Government has agreed to phase the timing of Council’s contribution to enable it to work within the constraints of its budget.

“Council will make changes in financial management that will enable it to keep under its debt to revenue ratio. It will benefit from current lower market interest rates. Council will also dispose of some non-strategic assets including some parking buildings.

It will be interesting to see what they ultimately decide to sell to pay for their half share of the increase but the fact parking buildings are included is good and a little poetic. It also would hopefully increase the chances of those sites, particularly the downtown carpark, being redeveloped to a more productive use. The herald notes the councils four parking buildings in the city centre, (Downtown, Civic, Victoria St and Fanshawe St) have a book value in 2016 of $224 million. They also noted that Skycity recently sold a 30-year concession to its carparks for $220 million, and it has fewer of them than council does. However, they also report Goff as saying that about $50 million from the sale would go to building more park and rides at stations.

Downtown Carpark soon to be sold?

Overall the cost changes are disappointing but not surprising given some of the changes, both to the project and market in recent years. Sweeney seemed confident this was a more accurate price so let’s hope it doesn’t go up again.

Preferred bidder

CRL also announced the preferred bidder for main works package which will see the main tunnels and stations built along with fitting it all out and connecting it to the western line – previously those last two were their own separate contracts. Their preferred bidder is now known as the Link Alliance, which is made up of Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S., Downer NZ Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited, WSP Opus (NZ) Limited, AECOM New Zealand Limited and Tonkin + Taylor Limited.

The tendering process has certainly seen a lot of twists and turns over the last few years and so this represents a significant milestone.

Early Works

While the Link Alliance are the preferred bidder, they haven’t yet been awarded the contract for the project as there still a lot to do before getting to that stage. In the meantime, CRL are working with them to create a $75 million early works contract so that things can get started. This will include works such as design, consents, permitting, utilities and mobilisation.

CRL are still saying that they hope to have the overall project delivered by the end of 2024, although yesterday they were definitely hesitant to guarantee that date.

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  1. Pretty much as expected. Was hoping there might be an announcement of development partners especially for sites around the Aotea, K Rd, and Mt Eden stations… though I guess that’s another whole process.

    1. With the new extra costs and the accommodation of the longer trains – what would now be the increase in ridership compared to the current Britomart use? It must be a lot more than the original estimates of 10,000 or so.

    2. The harbour bridge cost 7.5M Pounds – Thats $367M in todays money. You could build exactly one dozen harbour bridges for the price of this tunnel

      1. The Thames Tunnel cost 634,000 pounds to build and fit out in 1841, that’s NZ$127M in today money. We could have built exactly three harbour tunnels for the cost of that bridge.

      2. There is no way you could build the harbour bridge for $367m today. The latest estimates at a new harbour bridge were ten times that figure.

  2. I can’t believe its almost half way through 2019 and they haven’t even started the tunnel boring. -_- wake me up when its done…

  3. It’s a huge amount of money but long term it’s worth every cent.

    Tricky bit is where AC will get the money from in the short term. Selling Eden Park and North Harbour Stadium to the highest bidders would be a good start with agreement to build high rise to increase the lands worth.

    Perhaps a deal with central government on both land packages to satisfy their needs for housing versus revenue to AC for the public good would be a pragmatic solution?

        1. Not as much as it could be since it’s got the black hole of mayoral drive behind it! Funny enough they also picked the developmenter most keen to stifle their own plans for place improvement, via building a whole new huge underground carpark, separate from service lane

      1. You mean ratepayers are paying $60 million for Eden Park for something we have no interest in?

        Can’t be that we don’t have a say in it as it’s a commercial failure.

  4. I think Council does not need a fire sale of the parking buildings.

    Yes the car parks they contain need to be “managed out” of the system. Eventually.
    And yes they’re worth a lot of money just as parks let alone the land value. Councils “book value” is a joke, as those sites are some of the largest and most valuable commercial sites in the CBD able to be easily developed.

    But simply hocking them off as-is won’t necessarily result is less car parking in the CBD.
    As the new owner will probably run the car parks in them “as is” for as long as they have to to make a ton of money. Then do a sop of some crass fugly “apartments on top” not a full on redevelop – like the Victoria Park makeover job.

    Secondly, selling the sites for redevelopment is short sighted (and sited!).

    Council needs to retain control of the sites as they will give it future flexibility to redevelop areas around these car park buildings.

    Selling the sites cheaply to yet another land banker won’t solve anything short, medium or longer term. And may make the issues worse in the short to medium term. If they remain as car parks.

    All these locations needs proper street activation. And if Council rid itself of that hideous Downtown flyover, then that site alone could become a premier location – as good as, if not better than Commercial Bay site.

    And we know thats worth the thick end of a Billion Dollars in 2017 dollars.

    So, yes, some thinking needs to go into the non essential asset disposals.

    And of course, once CRL is built all that land they acquired needs to be re-developed or sold. Again not sold off for Four Fiths of fuck all to a land banker as is usually the case

    In the early days I hoped Panuku could do this sort of “value unlocking” activity for the council. But seems Panuku has other ideas or political ambitions.

    $50m for park and rides won’t go very far. at $10K a car park, thats at best 5000 car parks elsewhere in the ‘burbs. Council would be better to take that $50m and come up with a much better idea to get people using the CRL than “car parks”.

    1. +1. Going by the Skycity experience it sounds like they can make a lot more simply by contracting them out while retaining ownership.

    2. ‘Goff said the possible sale of three city centre car parks, and leasing out the Aotea Centre car park could generate $100 million – only half of which would be put towards the CRL costs.‘ – Stuff

      Only $100m means they’re only selling one I guess

    3. There are few options:
      1. Retain the ownership and add value: Redevelop the facade into retail/hospitality to make the street facing side more attractive. Lease out the car-parks to commercial operator. This will generate good cashflow and increase in capital value (book value), which allows council to borrow more.

      2. Dispose to developer and redevelop via Panuku with good design and land banking clause.

      3. Joint venture with developer and council retain 51% share.

      1. Operating car park buildings in the city is a sunset business. Already we know that Council wants to reduce car mode share in the city to 25% by 2045, so about half what it is now. There is a growing number who want mode share in the area around the car parks to be half that amount again, or less. Logically that will reduce the demand for car parks.

        If our aim is to have the central city area largely car free then it would be completely counter productive to give an operator a lease on car parks for 30 years, because obviously that is a license to operate for that time.

        1. Reducing modeshare to 25% doesn’t mean much if the whole area is increasing rapidly. Still roughly the same numbers driving, just more taking other modes. Couple that with more and more residents (and less vacant/underdeveloped land used as parking) and yes you still need parking buildings (and possibly even in higher demand – which is ATs justification for ramping up parking rates – too much demand).

        2. I don’t think the same numbers are still driving though. I think that’s dropping. And will certainly drop more with A4E. Not just modeshare. That’s the beauty of traffic evaporation techniques.

        3. The demand isn’t the number of people who buy a product or service, it’s the number of people who would like to buy the product or service at some cost (which can be higher or lower than the market rate). There is more demand for car parking, as there are more people who come to the city centre. Total car parking in the city centre (supply) is decreasing, which has reduced the total amount of driving, as the car parking has been full for about 30 years.

          Supply has decreased, and demand has increased. Both of these cause the equilibrium price to increase. This ‘law’ is the foundation for all capitalist economics.

        4. AKLDUDE

          “Reducing modeshare to 25% doesn’t mean much if the whole area is increasing rapidly”

          I completely agree with your mathematical reasoning and that is why the target for mode share in the city won’t be 25% if the population doubles – it will be much less.

          An immediate issue for AC is the very high pollution levels at the bottom of Queen St. Traffic to and from the Downtown car park is likely to be a big contributor to this. A sale of the building with a caveat that it not be operated as a car park would provide part of a solution to this.

          I am sure that there is strong demand for car parks in that part of the city evidenced by the nearby commercial operator having very similar early bird rates.

          Demand throughout the city however is not even. There appears to be too much parking in the mid city area evidenced by early bird rates starting around $18 per day.

          The removal of 2000 car parks from Downtown is likely to displace some of these parkers to the mid city area putting upward pressure on those rates and therefore a push to commuters to use public transport.

          This is a part of the reason that I think that the sale of AT car parks is a great move.

          Heidi, I think that ATAP 2018 said that traffic to the city has only decreased by 1% over the last year – helpful -just.

    4. “I think Council does not need a fire sale of the parking buildings.”

      It won’t be a fire sale. The $500 million shortfall is not payable immediately.

      I agree with your sentiment that there should be a staged approach to the sale, but that it should start, because the provision of parking and the way that parking is priced by AT is a real impediment to building public transport ridership. Auckland City needs less parking and the imposition of a car park levy, as discussed on this blog previously, would also be helpful.

      The buildings will sell for what they are worth and currently there is a very buoyant city property market. Will a purchaser receive a development margin? Of course, but the redeveloped building will also return significant rates revenue for the Council. Currently the parking buildings barely return the long term cost of capital. Redevelopment is also likely to free up older buildings for conversion to apartments thereby addressing the housing shortage.

      Council will still be able to redevelop the area around any new buildings for shared streets, or laneways or whatever is thought most appropriate.

      Here is an opportunity to really start to change the way that people move around the city. Let’s take it.

    5. The Council needs to keep the carparks so people from the North Shore can get into town. We are not getting any benefit from the huge sums being spent on CRL.

      1. What the council needs is the people that organized the leasehold sale of the Sky city car park so they can get the best value say for a 30 year lease then get the Cullen fund to invest the money and use the interest from that to cover the shortfall . and tie it up in such a way that AT , Punaku and the council can’t get their grubby hands on it and blow on stupid developments like Quay st and America’s Cup rubbish which is very short term and no value to the average Aucklander . And with those 4 carparks they could possibly raise $1biillion or thereabouts and have that the ones leasing pay for the maintenance not the council

      2. Miffy, perhaps they could spend some of the carpark money on some sort of “Northern Busway”, have a bus running up and down it every few minutes from the Hibiscus Coast to downtown until after midnight, linked by series of stations with Park and Ride and a network of feeder buses?

        Just think, what if they had started that project fifteen years ago, it could have been running magnificently for a decade already and we wouldn’t have to hear whinging from entitled Shoreites about the other 5/6ths of the Auckland region getting some improvement in rapid transit.

        1. Miffy’s comment makes me embarassed that I come from the Shore. We have a very good transport to the City. Should some of the network be reworked within existing budgets to produce better frequencies -yes. Should the money being spent on park and rides with no identifiable return be spent on opex to keep fares at the same level for existing users – yes. Should there be a rail only second crossing? Yes. Should the Shore pay for it – yes.

          And should the Shore be mindful of better transport solutions for everyone else – hell yes!

        2. John, just be aware that although you might have good public transport, 70 percent of North Shore residents do not have nearby access to frequent services.

          Should North Shore residents pay for a rail line? I guess so, just as Central, West and South Auckland residents are paying for the CRL and existing rail lines.

        3. Yes a busway paid for by NZTA and a stations paid for by North Shore City ratepayers without help from Auckland ratepayers, Waitakere rate payers or Manukau ratepayers. But of course we get to pay a share of not only their under-estimate of CRL but we also get to fund part of their major cost blow out.

          This is the historical way for Auckland. The North Shore and other councils got to fund a part of Greenlane Road through the Regional Roads Board, on the promise they would then build roads for the other councils. They didn’t, they got wound up and the land they owned, mostly in Auckland was given to the local council. So in effect the Shore and Manukau got to pay for a freebie for Auckland.
          One of the reasons for amalgamation was that North Shore was charging a modest rate and providing excellent services and building transport links, which clearly was unacceptable to Auckland City residents. They wanted our money spent on their shit.

        4. David B
          I take your point about poor frequency of some connector services and Devonport/Milford /Takapuna has its share of those too. The Milford Takapuna issue could be fixed easily by terminating the 82 service at Akoranga and that would enable three times the frequency if those buses were redeployed simply going back and forth.

          The poor Devonport connector could be fixed by scraping the electric shuttles and redeploying funds.

          For many of the other services it may be a more difficult fix.

          Of course there is an irony that although the frequency is poor, the total trip may be just as quick as a car trip sitting in endless traffic.

          The driver for me is that the status quo is unsustainable from an emissions and congestion standpoint and therefore something has to change.

        5. Miffy
          I share your frustration over funding some projects. I have yet to see AT provide any detailed analysis of the benefits of park and ride. Sure there is a lot of rhetoric about preventing a journey into the city; but many choose to make that journey because economically it stacks up. It stacks up because they don’t have to pay the true cost of the road (NZTA/AT) and then AT provides them with cheap car parking in the city. Conversely they discourage the bus trip because it is the third most expensive in the world.

          Here’s an example of how park and ride works in the real world. Late last year Wilson’s started to operate a 200 space car park on Esmonde Road. The price was $1 per day. Use seemed to grow slowly until this year. With more demand Wilson was able to lift the price to $2 and then quickly to $3 at which point demand seems to have dropped slightly. People pay for parking if it gives them convenience.

          Unlike the location of ATs’ car parks which are immediately adjacent to the train/ bus, this is not so well located.

          Why are AT obstinately refusing to charge for their park and rides? Why does central Auckland have to pay for urban sprawl?

          Having said that, I do come from a time when there was a more even distribution of wealth in NZ; a time when there was less poverty; and when society was more caring; and sometimes it is fair to help others pay who cannot. Maybe you and I have a different perspective on that? (Of course I am not suggesting that there should be any tax on the family bach, boat or artwork; these items are sacred; and others (let’s not call them people because it suddenly feels too real) should be allowed to starve, at least in moderate numbers before we consider any imposition on those treasures.)

  5. Matt, what’s your source for the nine car futureproofing “doubling” the capacity of the CRL? Surely going from six-car to nine-car is a ‘mere’ 50% increase in capacity, not double?

      1. Though of course that full capacity is only realisable when every service can be 9-car, ie after considerable work on the rest of the network. Very much a future-proofing investment as described. And a valuable, or even essential one.

        1. Wasn’t part of the idea with the possibility of using 9 car units that the signals and other train control infrastructure was to be updated so the trains could run closer together and thereby increase the frequency and therefore the volume passing through all points of the system.

        2. I don’t think that is directly related to nine-car trains, you could do that regardless. But I’ve not read anything that those changes are part of the CRL project either.

          My guess is that the network wide resignalling to allow faster headways would also require track and junction improvements, making it a project costing hundreds of millions or possibly into billions itself.

          But that’s fine. After the CRL we have two further stages to invest in increased rail capacity, the nine-car platforms works, and the signal upgrade for faster headways.

        3. It’s unlikely there would ever be a system wide resignalling to permit faster headway. The next tech to increase CRL throughput will likely be an upgrade to ETCS level 3 or 4 wheretrain postional info is shared between trains to maintain tight headway’s and separation. Lineside signalling will largely become redundant

        4. ETCS3 is exactly what I mean by system wide resignalling. Rolling block signalling still requires a lot of fixed infrastructure and in-train systems, potentially extending to all connecting lines and any freight train that would ever operate in Auckland.

  6. Riddle me this.

    How can Brisbane construct a very similar inner-city rail link, at 3x the distance, with more underground stations, more capacity and in a fraction of the time, for roughly $1B more?

    The business case was completed in 2017, contractors have been announced this month and have a firm completion in 2024. We have diddled with the CRL business case for coming on 10 years, and our need for it is much greater than this addition to a very well established rail system in SE Qld.

    It really blows my mind how our political will, our construction industry, and the general attitude of all NZers towards any project in the transport industry is swayed.

    Qld roads are not a great benchmark in regards to maintenance or design, but having a very like population to NZ and yet significantly lower road fatality rate (232 vs 380 last year), the attitude across the ditch is definitely to be desired.

    1. At a glance: The tunnel and stations for Cross River Rail are being built as a PPP by CIMIC Group (CPB Contractors, UGL, Veolia etc.). They tendered for CRL C3 but didn’t win it.

      Surely if CRL C3 could be built significantly cheaper then CIMIC Group would have proposed this in their tender and won…?

    2. There was plenty of diddling around with cross river rail. At one stage with a change of government it was going to be a bus tunnel.

      1. Yeah, I’ve been hearing about the BNE crossrail for years already so I’m pretty sure the gestation of that project has taken about as long to get to the construction phase as the CRL. Also 2017 to 2024 is 7 years so almost the same as CRL.

        What did worry me a lot was the non-committal to confirm the finish date in 2024. Already we’ve seen the finish date slip from late 2023 to various parts of 2024 (and this was the first time they’ve mentioned “end of”) and now they can’t even confirm that. Every time there’s been a big announcement on this project the finish time seems to have slipped.

        Also, I don’t really understand such a large increase in contingency costs. is someone on here able to give a fuller explanation over that? And $150m more in construction costs of relocating services etc. Really? Is that work costing that much more? Seems a lot.

        Lastly, as mentioned by Matt, this increase can be fairly and squarely laid at Steven Joyce’s and Gerry Brownlee’s door. Someone should go and issue them with a bill for $500m each. Make those ministers personally responsible for their actions…might help get better decision-making in the future!

  7. Lease the car parks to the highest bidder and let the free market decide how much CBD parking should cost.

    I don’t think most people realise that they are paying rates to provide below cost city center parking that 99% of people never or very rarely use/

    1. Unfortunately there’s no free market, though. All other inputs to the decision to drive and park in town are subsidised.

    2. I read the AA spokesperson argue that the price of parking will increase, with no cap because of the lack of competition.

      Of course the prices will raise, not a bad thing, but to suggest no cap is ludicrous and shows just how out of touch with commercial reality their mouthpiece is.

      Even in a closed market, the price will only go as high as the market will bear.

  8. Selling the downtown car parking building needs to happen. If funding the CRL is the stick to get it over the line, so be it. However, council should get resource consent for a truly amazing development there and sell it consented, not as a carpark.

    1. That’s one option (a good one, too).

      Here’s another – Milk the cow a little before slaughtering it. Lease out the parking (milking the cow) for X years then decide between selling it (slaughter) or redeveloping it. Demand for parking will still be present both during and post construction and letting a commercial operator run it will result in not only a higher cost of parking, but also elevated value on the land (due to the revenue potential).

    2. Sailor Boy
      It’s a useful idea, but it might not derive the maximum value for the site. What if AC decides that 20 storey structures are the way forward and a developer thinks they can build thirty storeys. Suddenly the land is way more valuable.

      The Downtown car park is a wonderful site with expansive harbour views and should command a great price in an international sale process.

      From GA 2014
      “An interesting development yesterday as the owners of Tournament Parking turned up to the council with a check for $7.5 million as a deposit to try and buy Auckland Transport’s Downtown carpark for $75 million.

      1. The council should take the height limits off all of their carpark sites if they are going to sell them. So build as high as you want.
        In Wellington the bright sparks on the council sold off the car parking buildings then doubled the street parking fees. So the building buyers doubled their money overnight. It was incredible.

        1. Why sell the building, when leasing them will bring in an income and the asset remains in the councils hands allowing it to keep the borrowing ratio at current or better levels.

        2. Robert
          if Council leases the car parks for 30 years they will be bound for them to be car parks for 30 years. I think that Downtown needs to immediately cease being a car park given pollution levels in the area.
          Decreasing car mode share will mean less need for car parks and it is responsible for AC/AT to lead this process.

        3. I would suggest that the lease be for a shorter period of 5 – 10 years with the lease would then be re-tendered at the end of that period.

  9. The government should pay the full cost of the CRL IMO. The government have turned the immigration tap on full blast which has created the need for these big projects. The increase in population has meant a lot of new tax for the government but only expensive headaches for the council.

    1. Clearly you don’t know any international migrants and don’t know how difficult it is to get permanent residency here, let alone citizenship. Getting into NZ is more difficult than getting into Trump’s US. Stop this migrant-baiting.

      1. Also, we knew the need for the CRL a loooong time ago. The cost of it is this high because NZers made bad decisions about delaying it and focusing on cars instead.

        And Jimbo, increasing density lowers vehicle km travelled.

        An increasing population isn’t a problem wrt transport at present. It’s housing them in greenfields locations that creates the problem. Again, that’s the fault of good ol’ New Zealanders, not migrants.

      2. I wasn’t meaning that at all. I think its great that the population is growing significantly.
        I’m just saying it is the government that made the choice, the government that gets all the money, and the government that should pay for the required infrastructure.

        1. Yes, sorry. I don’t think you were migrant-baiting.

          Essentially, there’s a shortfall of money to provide for the investment that’s required in infrastructure, even if population stays where it is. Lack of investment to date has stripped the health of the waterways, the flora and fauna, soil, air, and of course, people.

          With government taxing the economic activity, it probably is government who should be providing this money.

          But the other revenue stream should be rates and levies. And anyone imposing an externality on others should be charged for it in full.

    2. I guess I kinda agree with this? Not to bring the right or wrong of migration into it, but if the Government wants to continue to maintain current levels of migration in the knowledge that most people will choose to live in Auckland, then it has a moral responsibility to front for the cost of the infrastructure it require.

      We simply cannot function as a city without infrastructure.

  10. Council disposal of public car park buildings –

    The cafes on Victoria St car park are progressively emptied out without putting “For lease” sign.

    I would speculate the council may have plans to redevelop the building.

  11. “Some of these extra costs should also be laid at the door of the previous government who delayed the project for years”. I’m just not sure about this. Yes, National took a long time to stop dissing the CRL and start supporting it. But Auckland Council/ AT were planning in the meantime. I’m sure that having government support (and funding) would have helped the confidence and certainty in the project, and maybe sped up some of the design etc a little. But could it really have knocked years off the project? I haven’t seen anything to support that.

    1. In addition to that, how fast could we move it along if we decided to throw everything we have at it? Would it really be possible to fast-track it?

    2. Relitigation of the original AT procurement strategy after CRLL was formed has added about 2 years to the opening date for CRL. In this time the Australian rail infrastructure market has boomed adding to the cost pressures on CRL

  12. I agree with Greg N – sell it and you will get another landbanker who will continue its current activity for years to come.

    Redevelop it and make some money, provide some affordable housing, etc

    1. $1.5B as mentioned in that article, is $3b in 2021 dollars in which the contracts have been let. This would have cost £50,000 if we’d done it in 1907.

      The other $1.4B is from having to do all of the other network improvements that weren’t in that business case. In part because the CRL was delayed 5 years to let National commit and in part because rail ridership’s growth has been so spectacular.

      You are comparing an apple to an apple tree and ignoring 10 years of near record construction price inflation and acting like you were vindicated. You’re only right if you expected the last government to fanny around, expected unprecendented inflation, and expected massive ridership growth.

      1. Sorry Sailor Boy, inflation hasn’t quite been 100% over that time. Based on inflation rates the cost would have changed from $1-1.5b to $1.5 to $2.2b.

        Add to that the fact they quote, and continue to do say, benefits that can’t be achieved with significant amounts of additional investment just goes to show the benefits are either over stated or the full cost needs to increased further.

      2. Wow, you know level of monetary inflation between 2019 and 2021? I suggest you go and get a job at the Reserve Bank cause they seem to be struggling to forecast inflation.

    2. You also claimed that a harbour motorway tunnel would cost less than the Waterview project. I guess we’ll never get to actually test that one.

        1. And just like that you’ve proved yourself right yet again! Astounding how right you always are.

        2. Is this not your blog where you claim the harbour tunnel would cost $1.9b? I guess you were right then as well as now?

          “Using the above rates, we get the following rough order costs:
          3-lane tunnel = $580 million/km
          motorway widening and upgrading = $55 million/km
          Based on those numbers if we were to go and build the AWHC today we would expect to cost in the range of $1.9 Billion.”

        3. Just an FYI, but $1.9b is more expensive than $1.4b (which is how much the waterview tunnel cost)

        4. In addition, if you continue to read to the end of the post you linked, it says the cost is more likely to be around $3b, which again is still higher than $1.4b.

        5. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the whole waterview connection project cost $2.3 billion.

          Unless of course your costing was for a harbour tunnel without any connections to the motorway.

  13. Just noticed the previous press release from CRLL earlier this month was announcing the new 1.3km of track and 4 crossovers at Otahuhu station 3rd platform. This is to support CRL when completed.
    Since this is to completed in next 11 months I hope it will be used to expand some metro services, crosstown? Rather than sit unused for five tears awaiting CRL completion.
    CRLL also mentions Henderson station updates but says nothing on any planned progress there.
    I also noticed this morning going past Henderson yard there were no AM emus parked there but the two graffitied ADL dmus were very visible and there appeared to be some tech people working on one of the two. Are they or one being prepared for transfer or repair?

  14. How about this option:
    1) Continue cut and cover to Aotea and build a new terminating station there for Southern and Eastern line trains similar to Britomart
    2) Convert the western line to light rail and have it run down queen street

    Isn’t this most of the benefit of CRL without anywhere near as much cost? Added benefit being that the western line could easily be modified with new light rail branches.

        1. A fun idea but I would doubt it would be competitive. But surely a barge would run from Auckland port or mechanics bay rather than Half Moon bay but why not just truck containers to and from Kumeu. Lets see what the port studies come up with.

      1. Easy, just 100m or so where NAL leaves Kumeu there is an embankment from the rail line over to the petrol station just opposite old railway Rd. Just lay a rail line there out to the water at Riverhead then barge containers to mechanics bay. Simple, I’m surprised no one thought of that before.

    1. all types of construction costs went up, the increase wasn’t just caused by TBM shortage, light rail is spenny too haven’t you heard.
      also no it’s not ‘most of the benefit’.

      1. Actually what is depressing is the 25 year build time for this project. Think what else could have being achieved in that time with a little bit of imagination. All to avoid passengers having to change trains. Then we go and build a new bus network which is built on the premise of transferring.

        1. It’s not a 25 year build time, it’s a 6 year build time, preceded by 21 years of government investment being run by an organisation designed to design fund and build rural highways, who don’t understand that Auckland is New Zealand’s only true city and it’s transport solutions aren’t rural highways.

        2. I think I might die waiting Nick I am sure we were discussing the CRL from before Britomart was opened. Things move very slowly in the only true city.

        3. The CRL was first proposed in 2004. Back then there were 3 million passengers on the rail network so it was just a pipe dream.

          Building CRL 20 years after Britomart is quite reasonable. The failure was building Britomart in 2003 not the 1970s.

        4. And then to make matters worse we then design a light rail network that duplicates the Britomart Mount Eden section of the CRL. This is the biggest problem with public transport in Auckland it has lost all credibility. We have a election coming up I wonder if any candidates will campaign to scrap the CRL.

        5. I’m trying to visualise exactly where the two, heavy rail and light rail, actually duplicate.
          The light rail will run up Queen St and on down to Dominion Rd. It crosses over the heavy rail between Mt Eden and Kingsland stations but hardly duplicating the CBD to Mt Eden station section.
          The current bus services tend to more duplicate the heavy rail system post CRL.
          Any candidate that stoned on an anti CRL platform wouldn’t survive the election, but hey don’t let that stop you from standing on such a ticket to see how such a platform would be seen.

        6. Robert, you may well be correct but I would not be surprised if AC councillors were elected opposing the CRL. If you look at the catchment of Auckland HR then it’s a small percentage of the residents and rate payers. The CRL has no direct commuting benefits for the large majority of rate payers. Think NS, SW, inner W, NW, all SE Auckland where this is no HR and these ppl may not be super enthused by CRL costs despite the spin that it’s great for Auckland CBD and NZ in general.
          I, for one, would seriously consider voting for a mayor that opposed CRL now that Auckland is facing another $500m CRL blowout. Unlikely such a candidate exists as potential mayors are always cbd centric. Selling assets is great spin but eventually it’s rate payers that pay the cost.

        7. Mike – I don’t think it really matters. Once the contract is signed, which will be before October there will be no way for the council to back out. A similar thing happened in 2001 when John Banks campaigned on cancelling Britomart and won but wasn’t able to as the contract was already locked in.

        8. Can you believe they built the southern motorway when we already had the Great South Road? This is the problem with road transport in Auckland, it’s lost all credibility.

      2. In my opinion the CRL has three big benefits (and a number of smaller benefits): 1: extra capacity via through stations 2: two new city stations 3: quicker trip to city from western line. My solution gives all of these – the extra capacity comes from getting rid of the western line heavy rail.
        I guess my point is when the cost of a project keeps going up, you need to take a step back and ask whether it is still the best bang for buck. Maybe it is – but I haven’t heard of anyone asking.

        1. I don’t think your proposal does give all of the extra capacity. A terminating station within the available footprint at Aotea, will allow less frequent trains on the Eastern and Southern lines than we run currently.

          The CRL will allow trains to eventually run at frequencies of 18tph, with trains 216m long. LR can run trains at 24-30tph that are 66-99m long, even in the best case scenario HR gives more capacity. A tunnel would have to be built eventually, why not just build it now and save wasting money on terminating stations on the most expensive land in the country?

    2. There isn’t room at Aotea for a five platform station like Britomart. The cost of buying and demolishing the surrounding buildings would be enormous.

      1. WE should probably consider this.
        A special Tram could run to Waitakere and Kumeu just for Bogle . And one from Henderson to Westgate.
        And then there is Tram Trains if they were made robust enough to mix it with freight trains. Lots of possibilities.
        I wonder how long it will actually take to finish the CRL its not just about the money but one way to afford something is to just take longer to pay for it. I suspect that is what will happen.

      2. If you think same level then you are probably right, but what happens if you think in terms of stacked tunnels, in other words the Southern and Eastern lines at the proposed level and the Western and North Shore line beneath that.

        1. How deep are you planning on going!? The eastern line and southern lines would need five platforms alone with future frequencies. To fit into the Albert Street footprint there would need to be a level for each individual line.

          I can’t see that solution working out much cheaper than the CRL.

    3. My post ended up in the wrong place.
      WE should probably consider this.
      A special Tram could run to Waitakere and Kumeu just for Bogle . And one from Henderson to Westgate.
      And then there is Tram Trains if they were made robust enough to mix it with freight trains. Lots of possibilities.
      I wonder how long it will actually take to finish the CRL its not just about the money but one way to afford something is to just take longer to pay for it. I suspect that is what will happen.

    4. Jimbo, that would achieve few of the CRL benefits and would cost a bomb. For a start it wouldn’t add any capacity to rail, you’d only be cascading six western line trains an hour to the rest of the network. Secondly you’d still retain the slow and circuitous routing via Parnell and Britomart, not to mention missing the K Road station.

      And you’d only do that by converting the western line to light rail. That would be a multi billion dollar project in itself, to rip out all the existing tracks and staitons and rebuild them for a new system… and then what, you don’t have the light rail corridor for the southwest or northwest lines…. so you only have to go off and spend billions more building a tunnel for them.

        1. Including New Lynn it was over $500m, ten years ago. Plus electrification, fleet and station upgrades.

          Light rail would need all new trackage, electric systems, fleet, and modified stations.

  15. I am wondering how much of that $4.4 billion cost relates to items other than the bored-tunnel project alone? Does it include the works at Henderson and Otahuhu? Does it include the purchase of more trains and developing further storage areas? Does it include the cut-and-cover work that AT has already done (which presumably was included in the earlier $3.4bn estimate which I believe was for the whole project prior to it being divided into two).
    – What is the total cost of the works from Britomart – Mt Eden, but nothing else?
    – If this $4.4bn is for works still to happen, what is the real cost of the whole project including bits already done?

    P.S. I don’t expect anyone to answer these questions. Just food for thought, and a guide perhaps as to what a Wellington rail extension might cost. I should probably go and do some research. . .

  16. AT is in good company underestimating construction costs in the Auckland CBD at present. Remind us how much New Zealand’s oldest and most experienced construction company Fletcher Construction is losing on building, just two projects in the CBD.

  17. From an arts-lover perspective I would think it may be a good idea to keep the downtown parking but raise the weekday prices more so perhaps the revenue stream can help subsidise the construction. Also in the meanwhile PT is best serving commuters, not other trips and it would be a crying shame if people couldn’t come into the city and enjoy the amenities. creating the infrastructure for electric cars should be a priority and there is some in the downtown carpark already. It makes sense to me to expand that. It is also a good idea to keep land in the city centre as much as possible for the future unknown public good.

    1. Have you looked at the revenue stream and compared it to the revenue stream from any other practical use of the site? Or the maintenance and operational expenses of the carparks? Storing private vehicles only provides a ‘revenue’ if a blind eye is turned to the lost opportunity costs for the site, the traffic induced by the parking and all its safety, access, environmental and health consequences.

      Put a price on the parks to cover all the externalities, and people will cry “inequity” and “revenue-gathering”. There’s no opportunity to raise them even higher than that in order to subsidise the cost of the construction.

      People making sustainable transport decisions pay for others to make polluting and social damaging decisions in many ways – these carparks are one such way.

  18. Goff is a fool. Why should the rest of the country have to put in because his project is runnign late and over budget. The general taxypayer is already exposed to 50% and the pr*ck is still not happy.
    Now Mr Goff, I’m not a rocket scientist, but maybe the reason Aucklanders should be more exposed to the project costs, is because the project is in your bloody city!

    1. Would be good if they could apply the same principal to the Transmission Gully Motorway project, but the bill sits 100 % with the nations taxpayers.

      1. “Now Mr Goff, I’m not a rocket scientist, but maybe the reason Aucklanders should be more exposed to the project costs, is because the project is in your bloody city!”

        Are you proposing that every city should fund 50% of every infrastructure project? or just transport projects?

        be careful what you wish for.

        1. No, I think national funding of core infrastructure is the best way. I just can’t see what the difference between a key part of Wellington’s urban transport infrastructure and a key part of Auckland’s, yet they are funded very differently.

        2. There is nothing ‘core’ about an Auckland commuter rail service based upon a 19th century narrow gauge railway system.

        3. if you think urban rail is outmoded i’ve got bad news for you. it’s about ‘cars’…

        4. Mine was a response to MrV, who might be surprised to learn how these things are normally funded.

        5. Mr V – A large number of the worlds metro systems date back to the 19th century and the gauge is completely irrelevant to metro rail as they never reach the speed in the short gap between stations anyway.

          What is your point?

        6. No I think he is proposing that Auckland pay 50% of the cost blow out because that is what they promised in order to get the project going. It is a simple matter of doing what you say you will do. The only benefit I can see out of all of this is the Auckland politicians might take a bit more interest in the potential downside of their next ‘investment’.

  19. Doesn’t include any level crossing grade seperation west of Mt Eden. The likes of St Jude St, Woodward Rd and Morningside Drive have long been identified, prioritised and will be expensive and can’t be closed. Increased train frequencies will result in unacceptable traffic congestion so there will be additional cost on council.

  20. $4.4B is a lot of hospitals – the benefits were marginal at the original $2.2B estimate and now are getting silly given that 98% of people dont commute to Auckland on the train and after it finished 96% wont.

    Wouldn’t it be better to stop once the tunnels up Albert St reach say Wellesley St and then use them for storing the trains during the day – then feed them out again in the evening? Then most of the value of the CRL would be achieved and the $3.5B saved could be used for hospitals.

    1. That $4.4billion may build alot of hospitals but it also helps in other ways by keeping people from getting in harms way from idiot motorist that like maiming and injuring people on our roads , so think about that and stop complaining about the cost

      1. I don’t think the reduction of injury from traffic accidents was significant enough to be seen even as a minor benefit on the analysis.

        1. Just think how many hospitals could have been built with the $14bn reportedly sunk into Roads of National’s Extravagance, and the additional $10bn for further RoNE’s that National was saying it would build if it had remained in govt..

          Could have had a hospital in every suburb.

    2. It isn’t really – Dunedin Hospital is costing $1.4 billion to rebuild so it’s basically three hospitals with no allowance for budget to operate them, which is where the serious money in the health budget goes.

  21. City Rail Link (CRL) sees a $1 billion cost increase, totaling $4.419 billion, attributed to factors like future-proofing, contingency costs, and construction expenses. Despite the hike, both the council and government express commitment to the project. Mayor Phil Goff raises concerns about Aucklanders bearing 50% of costs.

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