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Submissions closing on ARC’s long-term plan

Submissions closing on ARC’s long-term plan: Have Your Say!

28 April 2006

Auckland households and businesses have only a few days left to have their say on the Auckland Regional Council’s long-term planning document, which focuses on the proposed future funding of public transport initiatives.

The Draft Long-Term Council Community Plan 2006-2016 (LTCCP) outlines how the council plans to serve the regional Auckland community over the next ten years. The document proposes priorities and funding to deliver public transport improvements and initiatives, promote sustainable development of the region and manage the Auckland regional parks network.

The council has gone beyond the scope of previous plans by presenting work priorities it considers can be delivered within current rates projections, and those that cannot. This is especially relevant when it comes to the $700 million public transport funding shortfall.

The ARC’s $1.6 billion proposed expenditure on public transport includes more than $1.073 billion on operating costs and $528.5 million on capital expenditure over the next ten years. The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), a subsidiary organisation of the council which delivers public transport services, requires a funding injection of $2.3 billion over the next ten years to meet the objectives outlined in the Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) 2005.

“The ARC is proposing a modest average annual rates increase of 4.9% each year over the next ten years, around half of which is currently directed to funding public transport initiatives,” says Michael Lee, ARC Chairman.

“This means however, that without improved government funding, we won’t be able to afford all the public transport improvements, such as increased bus and ferry services, at the rate we would like to.
Funding for other initiatives such as the electrification of the rail network, the Britomart station upgrade and CBD tunnel loop is not included in this plan.

“If the council chose to meet the $700 million funding shortfall identified by ARTA, regional rates would need to increase by an average 17% each year for the next ten years.”

“This council believes that this sort of increase is unfair and well beyond what the public would accept,” says Mr Lee. “Until we can secure funding from an alternative source we have no practical and affordable option but to prioritise public transport initiatives and ask the people of Auckland if they agree with our priorities.”

The ARC has offered the public two ways to contribute their ideas on the Draft LTCCP: a formal submission process and an informal questionnaire included in Region Wide, delivered to all households this month, which is also available on-line.

The cut-off date for submissions and questionnaire feedback is 4pm, Thursday 4 May 2006. Submission forms and questionnaires are available from the ARC or by visiting www.arc.govt.nz.

“More than 2800 questionnaires have already been returned to council and we expect more,” says Mr Lee. “In addition, we hope the people of Auckland will take this opportunity to tell us what they think of our plans by making a formal submission to council.”


Transport facts:

- The ARC has allocated $137 million to public transport this 2006/07 financial year. This is a $101 million increase on the amount spent in 2001.
- The Draft LTCCP proposes $1.6 billion be funded over the next ten years. This figure is $700 million short of the total funding amount requested by ARTA.

- The Draft LTCCP proposes an incremental rail network upgrade, including:
- A further three refurbished SA/SD trains to provide additional capacity by 2009
- 13 additional SA/SD trains to provide 10-minute services by 2001
- Station upgrades
- Train maintenance and stabling facilities.

-The Draft LTCCP does not include funding for:
- Electrification of the rail network
- Introducing rail services to Onehunga
- A major upgrade of Britomart Station
- A CBD tunnel loop.

- The Draft LTCCP proposes that the following bus and ferry service improvements be delayed for five years and implemented between 2011 and 2016:
- Increased bus services on major routes
- Increased bus services to major growth areas e.g. Albany, Flat Bush, Mt Wellington
- Increased bus services between Airport-Manukau-CBD-Botany
- Increased ferry services to Bayswater, Devonport and Gulf Harbour.

ENDS

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