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Corridor downscaled to cross Hobson Bay

Hon John Banks QSO Mayor of Auckland City

30 June 2004

Corridor downscaled to cross Hobson Bay

“The Eastern Transport Corridor as it now stands is sound, sensible, and fundable with the project making good progress,” Auckland City Mayor Hon John Banks said today after a crucial Transport Committee meeting on the Corridor. Auckland City Council policy is to complete the Eastern Transport Corridor with urgency.

The committee today agreed with officers’ recommendations for the corridor to traverse Hobson Bay, discarding the Parnell Tunnel route as well as the Kepa Road, Quarry and Farm Cove corridor options.

Mr Banks said Opus International’s $4 billion plan has been substantially downscaled. The proposed bus lanes across Hobson Bay have been dropped with the focus now on maximising the potential of rail.

The Mayor noted and supported the officers’ assessment indicating that the region’s growth strategy aims - and in particular the benefits for the City in building the corridor to unlock the economic potential of the Tamaki-Panmure area - “can be achieved with significantly downscaled investment than the Opus option.”

He said removing Opus’ proposed bus lanes from Panmure into the city would save $400 - $600 million. He also said subject to traffic modelling analysis on a downscaled corridor, the proposed road component alongside the existing railway across Hobson Bay could be reduced to less than four lanes.

There is also potential to include modern traffic management systems such as tidal flow options in peak hours, as already used across the Tamaki Estuary at Panmure.

“The costs are now substantially less than Opus indicated. Depending on how many lanes are decided, a down-scaled corridor could see Auckland City’s additional land purchase as low as $90 - $100 million.

Mr Banks repeated his support for vastly improving public transport along the entire corridor. As well, he believes rail services on the existing line could be significantly up-scaled.

“The advocates of a rail-only option across Hobson Bay, such as STEM, need to realise the consequences if the council took this suggestion seriously.

“Shore Road, Remuera Road, Gladstone Road, Orakei Road and other key local roads would continue to be a defacto Eastern Corridor used as ‘rat runs’ by cars and trucks.

“The corridor will give trucks a much-needed direct route to and from the port to the rapidly growing south-eastern industrial precinct, and a more efficient route for the 90 per cent of other freight that originates or is destined to go elsewhere in the region.

“With today’s announcement, detractors can no longer continue to parrot the mischief that the corridor is a 13-lane $4 billion project. I was aghast at the half truths about the size and cost of the project being peddled from the sanctity of Parnell’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, even though they knew the council’s intentions to scale back on the Opus recommendations,” Mr Banks said.

On the economic benefits of the Eastern Transport Corridor, the Mayor noted an updated assessment of the economic impact of the entire 27-kilometre corridor by BERL (Business and Economic Research Limited) concludes: (1.7) “GDP to be increased by $2 billion to $3 billion per annum by 2030 as a result of the intensification and economic development around the Eastern Transport Corridor. This increase is 1.5 percent to 2 percent of New Zealand’s present annual GDP.”

“I am also very positive about a public-private partnership. Three companies involved in road building in Australia all tell us the corridor stacks up well as a public-private partnership with tolls.

“We have made substantial progress on transport, I am happy where this project is at, and I am determined to deliver. Even the most strident detractors will say the latest proposition signed up by the Transport Committee today is looking sound, sensible and fundable,” he said.

A work programme looking into the likes of staging, funding, route protection, public transport integration and public consultation will report back to the Transport Committee in August.


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