As regular readers will know, we’ve been concerned about the process currently underway to decide on who builds light rail as the whole project has been delayed by years thanks to the mess caused by the NZ Super Fund and their Canadian partners. We last covered the topic two months ago but it has continued to be in the headlines so I thought it would be good to cover some of the key bits off that have happened over that time.
Light Rail Letters
Just before Christmas we teamed up with a handful of other organisations, a few of whom some may think are unlikely allies, to write the Minister of Transport expressing our concern. The letter was signed by Bike Auckland, the EMA, Generation Zero, the AA, Heart of The City and ourselves. You may have seen some coverage of this but the full text of the letter is below.
Auckland Rapid Transit Programme
We write to you to express our serious concern at the Government’s approach to delivering the rapid transit programme in Auckland, which was included in the 2018 ATAP Package agreed between the Government and Auckland Council.
As a group, we have a wide variety of views and priorities when it comes to investment in the Auckland transport network. We are, however, united in the belief that Auckland desperately needs a high-quality rapid transit system, and in our doubt that the current delivery process – in particular, the lack of transparency – will lead to the best outcome for Auckland and New Zealand.
Through the early stages of this project, and particularly since the announcement of an unsolicited bid, the public and different stakeholder groups (advocacy organisations, land owners and business owners alike) have been kept in the dark. No information has been shared on the factors that have guided decision-making, or on the steps that were followed prior to settling on two preferred bidders.
Nor has there been any opportunity for the public to provide feedback and help inform the Government’s approach. Assuming there is an opportunity for engagement further ahead, it now appears that it will only come towards the end of the process, after the key decisions have already been made.
All of this is a worrying departure from best-practice business case development, where – from the outset of a project – engagement with the public is recognised as a critical opportunity to incorporate the views of the community, demonstrate the robustness of decision-making, and secure buy-in.
This is a once-in-a-generation project that will impact on lives of all New Zealanders, now and in the future, and the consequences of not getting it right would be enormous.
By shutting the public out, there is a risk that this process will result in a sub-optimal solution that fails to secure broad-based, lasting support or, worse still, is rejected by the public. Our fear is that this could lead to a situation where rapid transit becomes a political ‘no-go zone’, and subsequent rapid transit projects that are urgently needed are held back or cancelled.
An additional concern is that a non-transparent, irregular process could expose the project to the risk of a judicial review in the future – which, again, would undermine the progress of the rapid transit programme.
We therefore urge you to immediately provide the public and stakeholders with sufficient information to understand and assess the work programme to date, and the two bids currently being evaluated. In particular, we would like to know:
- The requirements the Government is seeking from the project, in terms of outcomes
- The extent to which financing questions have been decoupled from technical questions
- How much consideration was given to other delivery options and approaches
- The extent to which the project has been considered as part of a network-wide solution, versus in isolation
- How value for money and affordability have been incorporated into the analysis
- Further, once this information has been made available, we urge you to provide key stakeholders with the opportunity to give feedback prior to binding decisions being made. This should be done in conjunction with establishing a stakeholder reference group – comprised of, but not limited to, the signatories of this letter – for the remainder of this project.
We are very happy to meet with you as a group to discuss these concerns in more detail.
In reply, we received this letter. At its core it repeats an the claim that emerged only over the last month or two, that the process is only about choosing who the government will work with and that after that they’ll work with them to decide on what exactly they’ll build. This seems an incredibly strange process and I can’t think of anything else where you work out who will deliver something before you work out what you’re going to deliver.
Let me start by reassuring you that there is only one decision being made through this structured process and that is the appointment of the preferred delivery partner. The Government is not locked into accepting a particular solution, but the Proposal represents the Respondents recommended approach and is the starting point for negotiations. Stakeholders and communities will be asked for input by the preferred delivery partner before key decisions are made.
Below is the response to most of the questions we posed above. One of the things I continue to find bizarre is why there is such secrecy around the requirements the bidders were asked to respond to.
The proposals by both the NZTA and Superfund/CDPQ were submitted last year and the expectation is to make a decision on them in February.
It’s possible another spanner could be thrown in the process with the Auditor General potentially looking to start an investigation of it.
The government auditor is weighing up investigating the Auckland light rail project after concerns were raised about the project’s procurement process.
The Office of the Auditor-General confirmed to Stuff that it received a correspondence raising concerns about the procurement process for the project, which is expected to cost anywhere between $6 and $10 billion.
Paul Evans, chief executive of the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) said that firms had spent millions bidding for work on the project, money that was wasted when the government decided to change its mind on light rail.
If the Auditor-General’s office does decide the issue warrants further attention, it could launch an inquiry.
In an interview on the AM show yesterday Minister Phil Twyford spoke a bit about Light Rail and when asked if it would be open by 2030, said it “absolutely” would be but also that it’s now not likely to start construction for another few years. This is extremely frustrating given the NZTA were ready to start works in 2018 before the Super Fund got involved and messed it all up.
“The light rail connection I think will probably be another two years in the planning, the funding, the land acquisitions…Then you’ve got another several years to build it – so it’s not going to happen tomorrow.”
The rail line had effectively been given the green light, it was just a question of who the Government would partner with to build it, he said.
“We’ve been running a process over the last few months looking at the proposal that the New Zealand Super Fund with their Canadian partners have put forward and also looking in parallel to that at a more conventional public-private partnership (PPP) or design-and-build approach,” Twyford told The AM Show.
“What the Super Fund proposed is that they would design, build and operate the light rail line for the next 50 years. This would mean that every time you ride a train to work, you’re effectively paying for your retirement.”
He stressed that the rail line would benefit many people in the city, not just those travelling to the airport.
The minister still seems overly enamoured by the Super Fund proposal and I wonder what impact that will have on the final decision. Also, if they’re picked, you may be paying for some of your retirement by using it but you’ll likely also be paying for the retirements of Québécois too.
Overall we really are in a holding pattern right now and will have to wait to see the outcome of the process next month. Let’s just hope the government do the most sensible thing and go with the NZTA.
Just a clusterfu*k of awfulness. I don’t think I’ve ever been as disappointed with anything than this governments record in actually delivering change.
This isn’t what I voted for at all. Struggling with why they deserve 3 more years.
Why isn’t Twyford on the back benches?????
Twyford has fucked up and has finally realized this and and is trying to cover his arse. He was sold snake oil by the Canadians promising new tunnels under town and elevated metros across mount eden with a ten billion price tag, then went off and told NZTA to pitch another unbuildable ten billion dollar elevated metro carving across town.
Now he is left with two useless options that hes trying to hide under a ‘process’ that cost millions in consultant fees and wasted years.
Time for him to piss off and let someone competent do the job.
This is an evidence-based forum so if you won’t give evidence, there’s no reason we should believe you know what you’re talking about. Please at least refrain from personal abuse. It’s not helpful.
Well Heidi if this is an evidence based forum why don’t you give evidence that he’s wrong?
@mike that’s not how it works, the person making the assertion has to back it up. Otherwise it would be fine for me to say you’re a prick, for you insist you’re not, and for me to demand that you prove it.
I support the vocal Twyford criticism. His role is prominent in the disasters that are light rail AND Kiwiflop.
We live in a great democratic tradition of sticking it to our pollies, whether of red or blue stripes, when they desperately let us down.
Heaven forbid if that is ever taken away.
I have changed my view on Twyford. He is actually one of the most successful politicians we have. His job is to promise jam tomorrow without ever providing it. So his goal is to make light rail seem like a plausible future project while ensuring it never actually happens so they never have to pay for it. So far it is working well for him. As the election gets closer he will make it look as if light rail has moved forward and then after the election the whole thing will be delayed again.
What would swapping them for National get us? A sheer, blind insistence that Auckland can just keep building roads forever, ignoring the huge losses from congestion in terms of quality of live and lost productivity while they add 40,000 people a year to the city?
Key and English strike me as far more pragmatic than Bridges et al. I wouldn’t count on them eventually coming around to the idea like they did with the CRL, even if it was just through sheer political pressure.
Yes. I think if our government had simply proceeded with LR as it was, not only would the population start to understand that Auckland and NZ can indeed improve our transport network, but National would’ve shifted. Just as Hidalgo has shifted the whole conversation in Paris.
NZ politics would be a whole lot healthier if National got into the modern world with its environment and transport policy.
Heidi, I think the evidence is there. He interfered in the tender process and it is now completely off the rails. First technical spec, then commercial. NOT the other way round!
I’m another labour supporter unsure if I can vote for this government again.
Would swapping them for National achieve much? I don’t know.
I’m pretty much at the point where if the Labour / Greens don’t deliver the promises that I voted for, I may as well take Bridges tax cuts.
If bold transformational government, isn’t on offer I might as well take the money. I also feel that broken promises should be punished.
“Labour is promising to build a 20km light rail line from the city to the airport as a priority – partly funded by higher petrol prices – leader Jacinda Ardern announced today.
She says Labour will build light rail from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill within four years, followed by light rail from Mt Roskill to the airport and light rail to West Auckland within 10 years”
Also, given the cross party support for the Carbon Zero Act, I’m much more ok with a change in government than before.
Labour is of course in coalition with NZ First so will always be in negotiation over any promises. Any National government post 2020 will probably rely on the support of NZ First so any tax cuts that they promise certainly wouldn’t be guaranteed.
While the current government has been frustrating they have already made a start on the Eastern Busway, a rapid transit transit route that languished for years under the previous government.
The eastern busway was getting built regardless of the 2017 election result. Perhaps sequencing differences around the Reeves Rd flyover, but it was getting built.
We’ve had 2.5 years of review and planning and nothing is ready. It’s hard to avoid calling this failure to deliver.
The current government also reinstated the future proofing of the CRL which had been dropped as “unnecessary” by the previous government.The same government which delayed the project by years. I believe National also promised Light Rail at the last election – in the 30 years time, has it had a change of heart since then?
On what basis do you say it was getting built either way? Up until 2017 it had been languishing waiting for funding, the coalition government ensured there was a funding stream and now it is finally underway.
On the basis that it’s delivery was explicitly promised by the National party in their 2017 election manifesto.
Eastern Busway is great (I live in the east) but it was a given.
Why do you believe they would have delivered on it? It wasn’t in the 2017 budget.
They also promised in 2008 to keep GST at 12.5 %, build an expressway to north of Levin and a motorway to Wellsford, promises that have not been kept.
They also promised a series of RoNs, while claiming that they would not be increasing fuel tax, I’m not sure how many of their 2017 promises were worth anything.
I’ll go with actual delivery over election promises, otherwise I’d still be believing we will have LR in 2021.
Is that your parenting style too – punish the kids for trying something new and making mistakes, so they learn to avoid risk and any kind of personal growth for the rest of their lives?
Labour is capex, National is opex. Projects are inherently risky and never have a 100% success rate. But they have far more potential to transform lives for the better.
Yes. And she also said that she never tells lies. And considering that 2019 was the year of delivery I think that I will catch the LR to the airport today, and then perhaps tomorrow take the commuter train to Hamilton. Or with the Sevens on in Hamilton that may be a bit busy, so I think that I’ll take the commuter train to Tauranga instead.
And as its a long weekend in Auckland I may take my porcine aviator out as well.
But why would you leave your fantastic Kiwibuild house? You could stay in and enjoy all the mod cons you can afford because it was so affordable and definitely at the price point they said it would be at before the election, and not the price points that were virtually identical to the Axis Housing programme developments they adjusted to after the election.
I’m with Jezza on all this & the Eastern Busway, definitely was waiting for funding, think the petrol tax got it fully funded in the end.
“While they add 40,000 people a year to the city”.
How does National do this?
Immigration. Key et al loved getting new immigrants into the country, especially wealthy Chinese and Indian immigrants, and in turn they loved him back. Unfortunately for the country, most of them wanted to live in Auckland. Hence, 40,000 a year….
How can the financing decisions be discussed if you haven’t picked a spec. Or decided between an elevated system or a street-level one? This has been spun out and diffused across so many different departments and teams that no one has any ability to make stuff happen anymore.
Basic logic says the spec should have been finalised with NZTA first and then competing bids to the same spec should have been sought if they wanted to tender some/all of the project. Now we’re getting different proposals for different things and they’ll be impossible to meaningfully compare, if they even meet the aims of the original campaign policy brief.
The only way the Govt can rescue this is to allocate some serious funding to Auckland Council to get started on the other two branches in the most recent iteration of the three branch Light Rail plan. I’m starting to think the Council should be lobbying for this behind closed doors if it isn’t already.
Is there even a set route yet? (an interrelated issue to the lack of specification)
It’s hard to imagine how this process could be structured worse.
I imagine it started out as a tender to do the AT proposed light rail on Dominion Road, and then the Canadian’s said it wouldn’t be much more expensive to build a proper separated corridor (but under non disclosure agreement as it wouldn’t be fair for them to lose that IP). Without knowing any details of what the Canadians are proposing it is difficult to say if it has merits. Considering the ground level option does cost about 5x as much as Waterview, it does seem possible that an under/over ground version might not cost much more than on road does. Which would be better is a matter of design and opinion; ground level will probably have more stations and catchment, the other will be a lot faster. I doubt for example that London would want to swap one of their underground lines for street level light rail; but then we aren’t London and don’t have the same density.
Hopefully we will all find out what is actually happening next month!
From memory the cost of surface light rail to the airport was $3b, so about twice waterview, with LR to the NW another $3b. No doubt these costs would change by the time construction began though.
Luckily Sydney is doing this comparison for real right now.
Sydney metro City and southwest is an ‘under and over’ metro 15km long and costing $9.1b (excluding the bankstown conversion). So $606m per kilometre without blowouts… yet.
Sydney CBD and southwest light rail is 12.5km at ground level and costing $2.9b with the blowouts, so $241m per km.
So in the same city at the same time through the same sort of areas, the underground and elevated metro is costing 2.5 times more per km than the surface level LRT.
Using those rates for the 20km long airport line in Auckland gives you about $12.1b for metro and $4.8b for light rail.
The question is does Auckland have $12b to spend on one project, given that amounts to twenty years of the entire public transport development budget, that’s basically giving everything it has to the Canadians for two decades.
And if it did, wouldn’t the city rather have three new rail lines for the price of one metro?
@Ricardo, not the same thing.
You are comparing a full HR metro system with very long platforms and going under the harbour etc to a hybrid LR system built on much cheaper pylons with possibly a small underground section and much shorter platforms.
We know for a fact that stations are some of the most expensive parts of underground (as seen from CRL) so of course the Sydney metro is going to be expensive.
AKLDUDE, Look at the picture from Canadian bid that Greater Auckland linked above:
It’s clearly a full on metro like Sydney, they say specifically “fully separated and automated”. That’s not possible with a hybrid LR system.
Indeed the underground station are hugely expensive, and elevated stations very expensive, which is one of the big costs of doing underground stations in central Auckland and elevated elsewhere.
Everything indicates that the SF proposal is near identical to what CDPQ are doing in Montreal. Incidentally, the trains to be used on that ‘LR’ network are the same modal as the ones used for Sydney metro. The only difference is Montreal are using 2-car trains and Sydney 6-car ones.
If it is the same as Montreal: “The 67 km (42 mi) light metro rail system is projected to cost CA$6.3 billion.”
So in theory it could be a similar price as the $3 billion for the street level option (jezza my mistake it was $3bil not $6bil).
That overall cost includes about 40km of the 67km that is existing double track electric commuter railway with fifteen stations already existing, which will be converted to metro (not quite sure why), including the main tunnel into the city. So Auckland’s would cost much more per-km as it is all entirely new build.
Just consider their plan to tunnel under the city center to a station deep under Britomart. Look at the CRL and you can expect more than $4b just for the first two kilometres under the CBD, let alone the next 18km across the suburbs.
Read this for a Canadian view of the outfit behind this Auckland scheme: https://www.citymetric.com/transport/r-seau-express-m-tropolitain-multi-billion-dollar-light-rail-project-montreal-never-asked
Thanks Riccardo. I believe that Roskill to Airport is about half the cost of the original project, and I assume the Canadian proposal is similar in that section, so really that only leaves $1.5 billion to underground from Roskill to Britomart. Obviously it can’t be done for anything like that amount. Even if they managed to do that whole section for $4 billion (unlikely as you say looking at CRL costs) then the project would still cost almost double. At that price may was well do heavy rail to airport via Onehunga and separate light rail City to Mt Roskill (and maybe on to Onehunga as well).
But surely there must be some merit to their proposal? Twyford doesn’t seem like an idiot, so what is going on? NZF interference?
My only guess is he thinks the private funding arrangement is some sort of free lunch that keeps it off the public books, while the NZTA are more than happy to let him dig his own hole with it, so they can get back to the important business of building rural highways.
But even with private funding, why change the route so much? Surely it has to end up costing us more! Or maybe the added construction cost gets absorbed by lower running costs due to automation?
“He thinks the private funding arrangement is some sort of free lunch that keeps it off the public books”
That will be ok if the Canadians are taking the financial risk, but I am worried any hit will actually be taken by the superfund members or the taxpayers. At many billions, it could be a big one.
“Does Auckland have $12b to spend on one project?”
I doubt Auckland will pick up the financial risk. If it’s ultimately government funded, even $10 billion cost is 4% of GDP.
Even with our govt finances in pretty good shape, we don’t have enough debt headroom to do many of these and leave space for debt-funded climate change mitigation, schools and hospitals.
So, this might be the last big one that gets done for quite some time.
“Sydney metro City and southwest is an ‘under and over’ metro 15km long and costing $9.1b (excluding the bankstown conversion). So $606m per kilometre”
That said metro was very “gold-plated” by the Berejiklian government. Metros need not be so expensive per kilometer.
People keep mentioning them undergrounding effectively another CRL2 for the Superfund proposal. I don’t believe that is what they actually have planned at all, simply one option. Elevating would cost a lot less and still frees up Queen St to be mostly pedestrianised.
And no, overhead stations aren’t particularly expensive, certainly not when you compare to underground or if you include land costs for other modes (which this proposal doesn’t need due to being elevated in the street corridor without taking up much space at the road level).
I’m was looking at the Sky Train in Vancouver a few weeks ago and it’s amazing. Similar systems in Dubai and Bangkok etc are also excellent.
Are you suggesting they might elevate along Queen St? Or another corridor nearby?
“And no, overhead stations aren’t particularly expensive, certainly not when you compare to underground”
I don’t think that that’s correct at all.
While an overhead Metro station won’t cost the horrendous sum of an underground one (CRL stations are approaching a billion dollars each), it would still cost ten times more than a surface lRT station.
I think I’d rather have Queen St still with cars than an elevated railway line running above it.
As far as I’m aware even the Sky train runs underground in Vancouver’s CBD.
“This would mean that every time you ride a train to work, you’re effectively paying for your retirement.”
I would prefer that every time I ride a train to work, I effectively pay for a train to work, and not add on paying for my retirement AND paying for CDPQ to clip the ticket on the way.
How can something that doesn’t produce an operating profit, let alone that and cover its construction and borrowing costs, fund something else? I’m confused…
How about instead of paying Quebeckers extra to plump their pensions, our government just keeps the money and plumps ours?
Perhaps a co-ordinated online petition to the Auditor general is needed to help support an investigation?
Significant numbers in support would help ensure an auditor review proceeds.
Hopefully an investigation would result in Twyford being removed to enable his electorate to get the biggest benefit promised at the election actually delivered.
13 year long election promise, bravo!
If they wanted to build it, they would have started building it and its as simple as that. Half of the people around won’t be involved in another 10 years time anyway..its not like anyone’s ‘legacy’ is at stake.
13 years to build a full rapid transit line is actually quite reasonable. The North-western motorway took 35 years to complete between Westgate and the city.
The failure has been to make any decent progress on a first stage, once construction begins then extensions become much more likely.
I don’t understand what this government has been doing for the last 2 years. Mr. Twyford said it will take another 2 years of planning before building. If I recall correctly there was already some planning by NZTA before the last election, so how many years of planning does it take? And we don’t even have a plan yet!
Remember, when there was some real hope that the light rail – at least to Mt. Roskill- was going to be completed by 2021 in time for the America’s Cup?
Clearly Mr. Twyford has to go – first he failed on Kiwibuild and now he has failed on LR.
“I don’t understand what this government has been doing for the last 2 years”.
I do. Running a couple of hundred working groups and reviews costing nearly $300m.
Is that what the CoL means by Year of Delivery?
” there was some real hope that the light rail – at least to Mt. Roskill- was going to be completed by 2021 in time for the America’s Cup”
How can I forget? It wasn’t a “hope”; it was a pledge of Twyford’s and the Labour party’s that was said to become a policy if Labour got in government.
And it was ridiculous for many reasons. Don’t tell me you bought it?
Phil Twyford has been an utter waste of space in the Government. My only hope is that Jacinda have been keeping him on to sacrifice during the election for more votes.
And it’s not only light rail but other promises that were made like third main and electrification to Pukekohe. I think the Coalition is toast. They deserve to be on Tywfords preformance at least the Labour part of it the Greens and NZ First have done better.
The delays are frustrating but the alternative government means roads only.
At the 2017 election National campaigned on:
*North Western Busway ($835 million)
*AMETI ($616 million)
*Extending electrification of rail from Papakura to Pukekohe ($130 million)
*The 3rd Main Rail Line (Wiri to Westfield) ($100 million)
Yes but they seem to have gone extreme right (wrong) since Bill left…
Agreed Jimbo. National were terrible at recognising the need for PT projects and housing issues but the social investment program BE had been working towards for years would have yielded far more progress in many areas Labour was touting as strengths.
I’m beginning to think that for the sake of a few more competent and metropolitan advisers and the odd policy tune-up, the country could have been much better off. There’s no doubt there is no one of English’s caliber in the current National leadership team.
Anthony if Nats were ever sincere on a NW busway it would be there now; the whole of SH16 was rebuilt on their watch with no busway, stations AT wanted deleted, and not even any designation or land acquisition for one. Talk is cheap. We got a cycleway there because the environment court made them add it.
The 3rd and Puke electrification are being tendered now, there was no detailed design for these projects under national either, so only got underway with the change of govt.
Promises are easy, it’s action that counts
Have the Greens done better with transport? I mean there’s the unreleased letter which supposedly has some pretty robust political discussions about certain tunnel in Wellington being delayed, but the Greens have been totally MIA when it comes to the Light Rail delays.
Probably because the Auckland Light Rail project is Phil Twyford’s responsibility in this government. The time to comment publicly on these issues by Coalition partners is during election campaigns.
Not buying it. If Genter can get involved in the phasing of a tunnel in Wellington then nothing should be stopping her hurrying up Light Rail in Auckland.
What we’ve discovered in researching regional transport, Buttwizard, is that the subject areas in transport seem to be divvied up between the parties. Presumably so they don’t undermine each other.
I imagine the Greens aren’t allowed to be involved in LR – though I haven’t been researching it so don’t know.
I recently saw a large number of pedestrian counters were being ordered. Safety improvements are coming thick and fast. Camera enforcement is being overhauled. KPI’s for public transport are now appropriate. Regulations are being overhauled for school and footpath safety. Investment evaluation processes are being overhauled, with benefits over the lifetime of the project having to be considered.
If this is what the Greens have been allocated, I think they’re doing a fine job.
So the Associate Minister of Transport does not talk to the Minister of Transport about one of the biggest transport projects in the country? Really? If that’s true, that’s pretty poor.
Will we ever know?
I see the plans for the Road north from Tauranga to Katikati now includes a bus lane and cycle walk way instead of a four lane car only express way which had being proposed as Ron’s under the last Government.
You can clearly see the Green Party influence there. I had never envisaged such a thing when I lived down there. But I think it would be great such a lovely district ruined by a very dangerous road. I wonder if the Government shouldn’t pick a section of road like this one give it the #Works# as an example of how things can be done differently. It could be called Genterisation.
So when the National Party finally finished a Rons they could have a big opening day and say how great they are. However if a section of wire barriers and other safety improvements are added to a dangerous road its a bit hard to blow your trumpet. So what they need to do is concentrate on a certain section put in all the latest upgrades and walking cycling public transport features and then announce the whole package and probably the money spent etc to the public then move on to the next project. However off course any dangerous features in other parts of the network that stand out like a sore thumb should be worked upon in parallel. For the Tauranga section I mentioned above there should probably be a combined transport buslane. Heavy transport lane maybe T3.
I believe the bus lane/cycleway is an “option”.
It’s probably an excuse to get the funding from the walking and cycling activity classes too.
The GPS has four strategic priorities. One of these is Value-for-Money, which: “places greater emphasis on transparent investment decision-making”
Objective 29 is “A more rigorous and transparent investment appraisal system” which will lead to “Better informed investment decision-making”
I’m not seeing it in this LR debacle. And it appears the road construction industry has played the government perfectly to ensure their favourite roading projects will get done under the $12 billion infrastructure whoopee, despite there being robust reasons against doing them.
We’re being played like a fiddle.
Not just one of the biggest transport projects in the country, but one of the biggest projects in the country. If Cabinet is not all over this then they should be. It should be on the weekly agenda – every week. What else could they occupy their time with? What they are doing with respect to climate change could be disposed of in the time it has taken to write this sentence? All very well blaming Phil Twyford, but this is a project that impacts on the credibility of the whole of government and so should not have been let to deteriorate as it has.
The National government over the years 2008 to 2017 wasn’t supportive of PT, rail, safety and car free areas such as in our CBD. Roads were always their top priority. They were not transparent and put obstacles in the way of good public transport decisions. They only reluctantly supported the CRL. There were several media stories of the previous NZTA in disarray. Simon Bridges as head of the MOT was strongly for cars and roads and most money was for roads, not safety etc. It was only last year that Labour finally refreshed the board and so I think they might have opened a can of worms on ways the previous NZTA made any progress on any light rail decisions difficult. eg not buying property along a route and future proofing a route.
This website has given many stories over the years how National was devious. eg no bus station at Rosedale, Kirkbride trench not including space for LR, Manukau station dead ending, Parnell Station in wrong place, K’Rd station platform too short and only 1 entrance, denying 10km of new bikeways each year, redacting reports on 3rd main line, Bikeway construction with long delays, and many more
Reality will be spun to suit an audience. Look at actions/outcomes under National:
*the CRL went ahead
*space was allowed for LRT under Kirkbride
*cycle trails all over the country
Manukau and Parnell stations, and Auckland city bikeways are AT’s doing.
By 2017 National were campaigning on NW busway, AMETI, Pukekohe electrification, 3rd main. (Link above)
“denying 10km of new bikeways each year”
Roll out of new bike infrastructure in Auckland basically ground to a halt for 2 years post 2017, it’s only now starting to move.
In no year have we even come close to 10km a year. Oh, and 10km is a crappy target, we should he aiming for 30 – 50 a year.
No surprise the Auditor General is taking note, post award the process incentives the Canadians to go a big as possible in the works and the government has removed any mechanism for price tension.
I support ground level light rail that promotes better street design and human life.
I am currently in Sydney and love the George St light rail and less traffic with people walking everywhere.
Please bring it on in Auckland through Queens and down Dom Rd.
Just to point out an error in the post, NZTA was not read to build light rail in 2018 – it had no consent or approvals to do so. These are generally an important requirement under NZ planning law before starting works …
Its not an error. They were ready to start service relocation and preparatory works, which don’t need a resource consent within the road corridor, and the detailed design for Queen Street and Dominion Road were already complete and ready to submit. The project was literally shovel ready.
Well, isn’t it the same clueless minister Twyford who was guaranteeing 100 000 houses built in 10 years and was ridiculing the Treasury when they said its not possible ? Now he guarantees it can be done by 2030… before election he was saying 2020.. he needs to go…
Dominion Road can have light rail and it will be a good thing.
It is not needed at the moment however.
Good news is many avenues behind can be joined to create service roads to shops.
So yeah Light rail is sweet as .. chill people…
Good that they require future proofing through consideration of where network expansion will likely take place. Obviously after Kumeu the line would go to Waimauku then Helensville. Therefore future-proofing demands the new line be 1067mm gauge. The government is even upgrading the existing line between Kumeu and Helensville, so that’s half the SH16 commuter belt taken care of already.
Auckland doesn’t need two incompatible rail networks for future generations to bemoan about.
Other cities manage having multiple comparable rail systems just fine and there are often benefits to it e.g. a single fault can take down the entire system but that’s less likely with multiple systems.
What’s important is they work as a coherrent network, not that they’re all the same technology.
It is a ridiculous proposition to suggest the reason why the NZ Superfund and Canadian should be looked at favourably is because by using them pays for our retirement savings. Surely the best funding option is the funding option that delivers the lowest cost to taxpayers (and users) – which has to be government funded. As the blog suggests we’re not also paying NZ Super fund costs but Canadians too. The only reason why you’d consider a PPP is because it lowers risks to taxpayers but that doesn’t seem to be in the thinking or a likely outcome
I can’t believe that people still think light rail to the airport and the NW is in anyway a smart move. Given the extraordinary price tag, the poor performance of light rail in Sydney (now down to 44,000 rides per week due to slowness mostly) and the length of time to get something like this up and running, why wouldn’t we simply invest in a superior bus fleet/network. If you think about it, what does light rail do that an electric bus can’t? They both basically move people up and down an existing carriageway, except with light rail when there is a breakdown the whole network comes to a stand still (as happened in Sydney last week). Plus the ongoing costs will need much larger subsidies than buses. Just get a dedicated bus lane to the NW quick smart.
If you think the HR Brigade were up in arms about LRT to the airport, I look forward to you telling them its now going to be “Loser Cruisers”…
I think the main difference is the number of people they can move. Try putting 400 people and their luggage in a bus. So this means you need more frequent buses (probably 1 a minute), which of course means more operational costs, no traffic light priority (can’t have that every minute!), etc. And then where do these buses go once they hit the CBD? How do we turn them all around and let them park while people get on and off.
Dominion road buses are already running about every 3 minutes at peak. Add in Onehunga, Mangere, Airport, and the growth from an improved service, and it will easily be 1 per minute.
Are you sure about the one per minute load? The Central Access Plan PBC (2015) was only forecasting a moderate growth in bus numbers down Symonds St.
If the bus issue really must be resolved and a light rail is the only way to resolve it, we should still be looking at which light rail to do first. We should go ahead with the one that has the best economics, and redistribute buses within the city if necessary. While the information released is limited, so far it looks like the best light rail could be a staged version of the north-western, if they could find a suitable location for a depot, and if they could make the bus transfers work.
And even if a staged version doesn’t work, the whole north-western looks like it may be a better bet than the city to airport line at the dollars we are talking about now.
But I’d also like to see a better argument why the bus issue forces a light rail. I accept a CBD bus tunnel is probably too expensive, but couldn’t we look at doing something like buying inner-city properties and providing more off-road stops to divert some of the CBD load? Sure it could get expensive, but it would likely be small change compared to the cost of a light rail or metro.
And could we terminate some services in Kingsland once the CRL is up and running?
And, if there isn’t big growth in bus numbers, is the bus issue really so bad we couldn’t live with it for a while? One issue people complain about is the fumes, so maybe convert the fleet (or at least the 20% or so of the Symonds St buses the light rail would get rid of) to electric or hydrogen, and we’d only be spending a fraction of money.
‘And could we terminate some services in Kingsland once the CRL is up and running?’
No, the CRL capacity will be needed for moving Western line passengers, not bus passengers from isthmus routes.
Isn’t the Western line capacity getting doubled? Surely its not all getting filled up straight away. And there is the option to increase it again with 9 car trains. I don’t what it would take to make an interchange work, but the saved financing on the many billions would add up quickly if it meant you could put the Dominion Rd light rail off for some time.
That sounds like the “inner west interchange” idea, where services would have gone through the CRL and terminated between the current Mt Eden station and Dominion Rd.
Sherwood – the initial plan is to run 9tph on the Western line, increasing this to 12tph when demand requires it.
You are technically right that this extra capacity could be introduced quicker to take say passengers from Mt Eden Rd buses. However, this introduces the issue where half empty trains would have to run all the way to say Henderson just to provide enough capacity for a tiny proportion of the route.
I don’t really think the $1b quoted for light rail down Dominion Rd is that much of a block to this project going ahead, even if it ended up being $1.5b in the end. The government is proposing spending an extra $12b on infrastructure.
Jezza, even if it was just $1 – $1.5 billion for the Dominion Rd light rail, the savings on the capex would pay for a lot of extra running costs. I will see if I can find any figures. And is there any constraint on just running the extra trains during the morning and afternoon peaks?
My wider point is that I think there are possible ways around the bus congestion problem which haven’t been properly explored yet, and they should be if we’re talking about committing this kind of money because of the buses.
As for the affordability of it, if a project is going to be largely self-funding I don’t mind as much, but I think we need to get pretty rigorous with our spending for any debt-funded capex because we’re ultimately going to need the money for climate change mitigation. But that’s probably an argument for another day.
It doesn’t save $1 – 1.5b, it just kicks it’s spending down the road a bit, so the savings are a lot smaller.
From memory the Dominion Rd LR had a positive BCR and is the logical first step to developing a much larger LR network. I don’t think having bus passengers transferring onto trains near the CBD will drive the urban renewal we need on this corridor like LR could.
Forcing all passengers to interchange would have a negative BCR, as it would costs significant amounts to build the required interchange terminal station, but would also increase passenger travel times and require increased public transport service opex.
TLDR: spending a lot of money to make trips slower = bad business case.
Jezza, yes, if it has a good BCR taking into account all of the benefits then I’d support it. I think this one had a BCR of 1 or thereabouts , and I don’t know what cost estimates they were using at that stage. The final assessment should be realistic and properly reflect all the risks.
I am not for or against the light rail one way or another yet. But I’ve got doubts and questions.
One of those concerns is about the old argument about bus congestion. I believe they should do more work, or present it if they’ve done it already, if they want to justify it on the basis of avoiding bus congestion rather than a good BCR.
The savings you’d get from putting off the light rail by diverting passengers onto the CRL would depend on how long it could be put off for. A twenty year delay at 5% would save around $1b of the $1.5b, if that was the cost. A ten year delay around $500m.
The timeframe depends a lot on how much re-development was going to happen along Dominion Road and in the wider bus catchment. The forecast in the Central Access Plan PBC only showed moderate growth.
To really figure it out you’d need to look at the true capex costs for the light rail, the future growth prospects with intensification, how many buses have to be diverted to avoid the congestion problems, how many passengers were being diverted from the buses onto the CRL, what the requirements, costs and time impacts were for the interchange were (relative to what they would need to do anyway for passengers changing from feeder buses to the light rail), whether and when that would require more trains to be put on, what the opex implications were and if they were high possibly whether it would be cheaper to bring forward the costs of accommodating nine car trains throughout the network.
It may not be something either of us could work out easily in our spare time. But if they are going to justify it on bus congestion it’s something I think they should work through (if they haven’t already) in broad enough terms to work out if it was worth pursuing.
Having said all that, they may have pivoted away from the bus congestion argument already. They are now discussing wider outcomes including employment and community development in Mangere etc without specifically mentioning bus congestion. We may know a bit more when they release the further information on their desired outcomes included in the requirements document.
John D, the economic impact would depend a lot on how much you could delay the light rail for, which in turn probably depends a lot on how much demand growth there was. What sort of interchange would you need? And what’s the average time delay going to be for the feeder bus passengers connecting to the light rail? I get into it more in my message to Jezza above.
It’s 44,000 per day not per week, but I appreciate that this doesn’t help your argument.
Both branches aren’t even open, the one that is has yet to have a full month of operation, yet the numbers are already great, 706k riders using Opal in the first partial month (Dec).
So without even waiting for L3 to start, or for the speed issues to be sorted, the one thing we can certainly say is that it’s popular af, as LR almost always is.
44,000 per day. Which is about the same as all of Auckland’s heavy rail lines put together…
How many people live in Sydney????? Nice strawman argument.
Ah Mike, the strawman is from you given that the new light rail is only convenient to a fraction of Sydney’s population.
And so is LR along Dominion Road.
You’re the one trying to attribute high ridership on Sydney’s light rail to “higher population”, not I. Once again logic fails you.
Mike – not sure what the population of Sydney has to with it. The population living along the respective routes and the change in patronage from buses to LR along the Sydney route are the relevant figures.
One thing for certain though is based on patronage the Sydney LR is not a failure as a rapid transit route so shouldn’t be used as a reason not to do it in Auckland.
“the poor performance of light rail in Sydney (now down to 44,000 rides per week due to slowness mostly)”
Just to quibble, but that’s a moot point. Believe it or not; there’s a world out there that exists beyond Sydney Australia and that world includes cities with light rail systems that have been successful. And this is not the only light rail in Sydney, there’s the older Dulwich hill line whose patronage growth has exceeded forecasts.
It’s still early days for the new line, it’s still being “broken in”. And its transit speeds have already increased.
So bringing it up was completely stupid.
“If you think about it, what does light rail do that an electric bus can’t?”
The fact you even ask that question illustrates how uninformed on this you must be.
P.S. I’m against the light rail to the airport via Dominion road.
I understand the Sydney SE LRT is now down to 44,000 trips per day, not per week, since opening with 115,000 trips on the first weekend. Still a lot less than the 68,000/day forecast, and the slow speed (average 11 km/hr) is undoubtedly a factor. However as this blog has documented other new LRT schemes have been much better if they do their signal priority correctly. Gold Coast averages 22 km/hr and Canberra averages 32 km/hr. A system built to similar standards in Auckland could achieve the required travel times to Auckland Airport.
Apologies for not paying attention.
Why does the phrase “fiddling while Rome burns” come to mind? Last time I checked in here around 12 months ago, the discussion was pretty much the same.
At an estimated cost per km between one tenth and one twentieth of light rail, surely trackless electric trams are worth a serious look. See:
These two Australian references are a couple of years old – worth taking the time to read. I wonder if anything has changed in the meantime.
This obsession with putting expensive 19th century rails in the ground and unsightly power poles everywhere is disturbing. A trial for a trackless tram system could be set up relatively quickly (12 months? ) on a suitable route in the city. Imagine a triple bendy bus with train ride quality. Looks like a 3 carriage tram replaces 3 double deckers or 7-8 single deckers.
Running a trial:
– Choose your partner – I believe systems are in place in China, Japan, Korea and Europe.
– Autonomous navigation not up to the task? Employ a driver in the meantime.
– No place to turn this monster vehicle around? Send the driver to the other end of the tram.
– No charging infrastructure? Explore diesel or diesel hybrid power units for your trial.
– Route not optimal? No rails to dig up, no power lines to relocate.
Stand by for the howls of derision.
I suspect Phil Twyford was rather stung by the amount of criticism of his “slow tram to the airport”. Cue the Superfund and their Super LR scheme. Hopefully it all works out in the end.
I know from experience that some people on here have something of an emotional investment in this and I’m expecting to (yet again) get attacks and abuse for saying things people might not like to hear.
But I really think that many of you should at least lower your expectations for this LR along Dominion road ever happening. Whether you think it should or not; it’s just most probably just not going to, regardless of whether you’re right or wrong.
Twyford & co’s promise to have this built let alone by the America’s cup (which I’m sure everyone can agree was an idiotic deadline) was just an election bribe. Surely you must all know by now that election bribes are what politicians do. Anyone who took Twyford’s word at face value should be angry at themselves for being so naive and/or fanciful.
Either Twyford never had any intention of building this light rail, only promised it in desperation (given that it looked like Labour wouldn’t win the election) and figured that interest in it would die-down (which it sort-of half-has) or he changed his mind after being briefed by career experts from Kiwirail, the NZTA and Ministry of Transport and is trying to kill it off as quietly and with as little collateral as possible.
And at least be honest about this: Most of Auckland let alone NZ does not want this light rail and Twyford cancelling it would have their support.
I’m not going to advise anyone to give-up on advocating for this (despite me making my opinion of it clear time and time again) but I will say that some of you need to “get a bit real” with the insinuations such as that “it would be built by now if only this or that” or “Twyford has ultimately betrayed us on his solemn word” etc.
@Mike because you can’t prove something is wrong, as the person who made the claims has the onus of responsibility of proof. For example, in court, you must prove that someone did do something, as opposed to proving that someone did not.
Twyford says they aren’t committing to anything but the choice of delivery partner. But there is a risk in committing to a partner before working out the business case. You can get a lot of momentum towards delivering something of comparable scale to what was originally envisaged, and that momentum can get in the way of properly developing the business case and choosing the best option.
If they do appoint the Canadians, they should be structuring the contract so that the govt isn’t on the hook for anything if they ultimately decide to downsize, defer or cancel the project.
I think the Canadian proposal needs to be rolled out in conjunction with massive urban renewal along Dominion Road. Contruction of the line should take place in conjunction with the wholesale demolition and rebuild of most of the Dominion Rd corridor to high density living. I’m not an economist but maybe there are oportunities for value capture by approaching this not just as a transport project but a major urban reshape of the route? Obviously far more ambitious than surface LRT and will require more plan/build time.
How do you think this could be achieved, politically? The locals will hate it, and all status quo warriors, whether anti-PT, anti-intensification or pro-roads, will support them.
To embark on such a project would require alot of govt involvement to be sure and I would likecto believe there is a growing segment of the electorate who would embrace it.
Lets face it, there isn’t much of preservation value on the whole corridor and not much in the way of high value residential. I don’t see much being lost with a large scale redevelopement that should supply large numbers of modern, good quality appartments and residences for Aucklanders with excellent pt access.
With street level LRT the Dominion Rd corridor could evolve over time with higher density residential projects being built over a longer period.
An metro style line would realise its potential and achieve better payback with a much larger scale redevelopement with far more dwellings.
Letting the corridor slowly develop would mean years of missed patronage and loss running.
Does your plan require compulsory purchase of property to replace dwellings with other dwellings?
If so I don’t think there would be much of the electorate in support of this.
I would think compulsary aquisition would be needed for such a large scale redevelopement .
The existing dwellings are generally old and low quality and take up alot of space.
More and more Aucklanders are emvacing appartment living and there is a shortage of good and afordable dwellings in Akl.
There may well be growing support for intensification but I don’t think this means growing support for compulsory acquisition of private property to achieve this.
I think this would be extremely unpopular. While letting the corridor slowly develop may not be optimal, it is far more likely to succeed than an attempt to level the corridor and start again.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favour of the LRT option as originally proposed, and a corridor evolving to higher density.
The idea for a large scale redevelopement came from wondering how the metro style proposal coyld be made workable, practical and rendable
Actually the Canberra and Gold Coast surface LRTs have both achieved lots of redevelopment along their routes, starting before they were even opened. The barrier would be town planning rules, not the type of LRT. Gold Coast Council has been tracking the redevelopment that has occurred in that corridor. So far over 17,000 apartments and counting. See https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/light-rail-status-report-2017.PDF
I’m not familiar with the Canberra route, but there’s been development along the Gold Coast corridor for a long time. I think they need more data to attribute recent development there to the light rail – like a comparison to the long-term average there before the light rail was put in place, perhaps allowing for any dip following the GFC.
There are few people here who are seriously thinking National will deliver public transport.
HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA What a joke.
I’d love them to but they are too beholden to the farmers and the rural vote and of course, the roading lobby. There is no way they will put public transport up the priority list at the expense of their unfunded RoNs and other roads.
Simon Bridges was transport minister when he said the Light Rail to the airport was not a priority; it can be done in 30 years “maybe” and it might just be a busway by that time.
That is completely and utterly unacceptable. Twyford might be a buffoon and the LR to the airport has been held up but we all know that he and Labour are completely public transport focused. If you people think that voting National will deliver you your public transport projects in your lifetime, then you’re dreaming. Absolutely dreaming. National are ideologically roads-first. With Simon Bridges there, they’ve become even more entrenched in their ideological position. If John Key was still around, yes he was open to persuasion and he was an Aucklander so he knew the public transport benefits for Auckland. However, he’s long gone. Simon’s crowd are all for the roads. If you want roads, roads, roads, be my guest and vote National. However, don’t pretend to think that you’re voting National for public transport follow-through. You’re never going to get that.
I think you’ve got about a 50/50 chance with both main parties, Labour have shown they can’t deliver on there promises, and we have no idea if National would have delivered on theirs, which in 2017 were also fairly similar.
“the LR to the airport has been held up”
You say this as though it ever happening was certainty.
“we all know that he and Labour are completely public transport focused”
No I’ve never “known” that at all! Labour were pretty reluctant about PT last time they were in government. It was on their watch that the mass motorway building begun and Toll holdings closed plenty of train stations (Huntly and Te Awamutu amongst them). And I see Labour MP’s promoting pro-roading and anti-PT projects like the completely un-needed new Melling bridge in Lower Hutt.
And before you might begin: No I have never voted National in my life.
People here seem to think the LR to the airport is never going to happen. That is just lunacy. It is happening. The issue is how it is going to happen – with this new outfit the pension funds or with NZTA. Either way, it is happening as long as Labour are in office. Has Twyford ever said light rail is never going to happen? People here are losing their rag after just two years in office and are thinking about throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
True, Helen Clark’s govt took some persuasion with public transport. However, I was clearly talking about this current crowd in office.
Honestly, I’d love for National to come out this year and commit to public transport projects around the country but it is just never going to happen. Their focus is the rural highways; their baby is the RoNs. Chris Bishop was on the tv again today promoting those highways.
Well, sorry I am for public transport and National will not be delivering it. The first thing Simon Bridges will do if he gets into office is completely can the Light Rail to the airport. He will then revert the National Land Transport Fund back to funding roads only. He will probably even try and cut more costs from the CRL if he could by cutting the size of stations. It’ll be a disgrace. His whole performance as transport minister was to kick public transport projects to touch and urgently proceed with road projects, especially that one in Onehunga.
Your ability to predict the future is astounding. Perhaps you can give this Saturday’s winning Lotto numbers as well?
Vance, my predictions of the future is based on National’s former transport minister’s own words. The LR rail to the airport is not a priority. He sees it as a waste of money (which could go to roads) and if it is needed in 30 years time, it might only be a busway. This is also a transport minister and party that put up all sorts of excuses to delay the CRL. The only reason it got John Key’s support was because the Auckland Business Roundtable told them in no uncertain terms to stop stonewalling the CRL.
This is what they promised in 2017: “Work with Auckland Council on a mass transit solution between the CBD and Auckland Airport and complete route protection.”
You know what that says in the context of Simon Bridges as leader? That says “we’ll protect the route and then not do anything until 30 years time and then maybe only a busway is required at that time”.
I can’t believe so-called public transport advocates here, furious at the delay in the light rail to the airport and angry at Twyford, want to vote for the National party who will can the project altogether for maybe a busway in 30 years time. All because you’re angry that your preferred NZTA now has competition from the Pension Fund to deliver the project.
Personally, I don’t care who the hell delivers the project, as long as the project is delivered by 2030. I wouldn’t care which party was in government either if the Nats were firmly committed to put the light rail in place by 2030. They weren’t committed to any of that in 2017 and there has been absolutely no statement from them that gives me any confidence they are even interested in the light rail. All they talk about are the RoNs.
To be clear, they are not keen on HR either. At a stretch they might commit to a busway.
“Labour” we have now maybe different to the “Labour” early Labour under Helen Clark regarding PT. Another thing is the time to get a project to completion it’s often a different set of parties in power by the time they are fine tuned and delivered.
By the way everyone seems to forget, “Labour” isn’t the government, it’s a coalition with strong influence from both NZ First & the Greens. We have got used to pretty much the National Party in power by themselves previously, but now it’s very much a coalition.
National are not beholden to farmers, they make up a tiny proportion of the population and are generally a guaranteed vote for National anyway. Elections are fought in urban areas, generally over voters somewhere near the centre.
Labour is a generally better party for PT but the difference is relatively small, both have taken a lot of convincing to proceed with PT projects.
So the vague promise of something that doesn’t happen due to bait and switch and general incompetence is preferable to something that won’t be considered on an idealogical basis?
In a competition of high horses, this argument is a dachshund.
I don’t think Twyford is “stupid” as in low IQ.
I think that he is too fond of promoting something that then turns out to be physically impossible like 100,000 houses when there aren’t that many tradespeople to build them in the conventional manner and MBIE seems to be totally against imported or locally made “flat packs”.
In the case of transport I think that he is torn between two opposing camps
1. the ideologues and lobbyists who come up with all his fancy ideas and
2. NZTA, the MOT, and Treasury who, after 9 years of National cannot get their collective heads around the idea that there is a realistic alternative to putting tarmac and concrete over the bits of NZ that aren’t already roads.
Everybody is up in arms about wires to Pukekohe not having been started, but how many of you understand that the project hasn’t been started for two reasons.
1. The Drury overbridge. It transpires from documents on the NZTA website that construction of the Papakura-Drury motorway upgrade is to start at the Papakura end because it is easier as there is no off motorway access or acquisitions required. Unless the road over rail bridge is to be tackled differently, we are looking at 4-5 years, based on the Orams Rd to Takanini debacle, before that project is complete so you won’t get your wires for a very long time.
2. Kiwirail are currently fettling up the track between Papakura and Pukekohe so that the third main can run (eventually) all the way to Pukekohe, however there has been no serious money allocated to KR for detailed planning so the third main will also be some time.
Having said all that I don’t think that Twyford is strong enough to hold the Transport portfolio, but I don’t see anybody else who show the intestinal fortitude to take over.
Personally I’d rather see the $12b allocated for infrastructure put into Health and the abolition of the DHBs.
It’s alright, I’ve put my tinfoil hat on to repel the detractors.
Chris the overbridge is an entire red herring as the plan (yes planning is funded and has been underway since the change in govt.) is to lower the track there to provide sufficient overhead for wires.
“Everybody is up in arms about wires to Pukekohe not having been started, but how many of you understand that the project hasn’t been started for two reasons … there has been no serious money allocated to KR for detailed planning”.
So we shouldn’t be upset that the government hasn’t achieved electrification becasue the government hasn’t given Kiwirail any money for planning?
Would that apply to other things? Would we not be upset about people dying in hospitals because the government hasn’t given DHBs enough money to plan services?
Electrification hasn’t been delivered because the government hasn’t given Kiwirail the money to investigate it and therefore Kiwirail doesn’t have the business case needed to force the NZTA to upgrade the bridge first. Under a government competently prioritising public transport, Kiwirail would have been immediately given funding for the business case, been ‘requested’ to do the business case, and then given funding to complete the works recommended in the business case. Exactly like National did with roads.
But hey, I guess believing the publically available budget documents, business cases, construction contracts, and physical roads that exist because of National’s priorities in 2009 means that *I* am a tin foil hat wearing loony right?
Light rail will carry large commuters per hour and will service the growing employment areas of the city centre and Auckland airport which has 35,000 workers alone. It is a high-quality service that is attractive to users, with high levels of patronage. Here are more tips for students studying abroad: http://bit.ly/2MMgivx