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Transport Authority Releases Auckland Rail Plan

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE:
Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Transport Authority
September 12th, 2006

Transport Authority Releases Long Term Rail Development Plan for Auckland

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) today released its long-term Rail Development Plan for Auckland. The Plan includes a proposal for the electrification of Auckland’s rail network in the medium-term, with proposed development in the period 2012 – 2015, and for a decision to be made soon with respect to investment in new rolling stock for the region.

Chair of ARTA’s Board, Brian Roche, said, “This is a programme of activities to revitalise the region’s rail infrastructure and take the direction of Auckland’s transport development to the next stage.

“ARTA recognizes that the programme for investment in Auckland’s rail infrastructure has to be cost-effective. Furthermore, we also believe that further investment is required to ensure the region’s transport infrastructure is expanded to the quality and effectiveness required for a competitive first-world city. From this perspective, the detailed analysis that has been undertaken confirms that investment in rail infrastructure and electrification is justified. This is an investment decision which will benefit the Auckland region in the medium and long-term and will have positive down-stream economic benefits for the rest of New Zealand.

“Over the past year, Aucklanders have increasingly taken to using passenger transport, and particularly trains, both for work and leisure. Passenger journey growth on trains is showing a 32.5% month-on-month increase in patronage compared with last year, with a high of 566,000 passenger journeys reached in August this year. ARTA’s forward projections show that this level of growth is expected to increase over the coming years.

“ARTA is encouraged that the government is supportive in principle of the Rail Development Plan and has said that the proposals in the report are consistent with the Government’s broad agenda for Auckland, including those associated with economic transformation and climate change,” said Mr Roche.

Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council, Michael Lee, said, “The Auckland Regional Council fully backs ARTA’s Rail Development Plan. We are committed to equipping the Auckland region with the appropriate infrastructure and services benefiting a city of this size.

“We have worked hard to come up with a long-term policy for the development of land transport for the region with the 2005 Regional Land Transport Strategy. ARTA is now exercising its legislative requirement to put that plan into action. Rail is a very significant part of Auckland’s Transport network, particularly with the patronage growth we are experiencing, and are projected to experience over the next few years,” said Mr Lee.

Mr Roche said, “The implementation of a plan of this scale requires significant investment. To this end ARTA, the ARC, Treasury and the Ministers’ of Finance and Transport’s office have agreed that a small technical working group be convened to work through the details and information required to make decisions, with respect to the timing of electrifying Auckland’s rail network and the future purchase of rolling stock.

“The group will comprise representation from ARTA, the ARC, Treasury, and the Ministry of Transport, with support from ONTRACK where required. The working group will fit with the broad directions and timing for Auckland transport which are now being established through the Auckland Strategic Transport Alignment Project (ATSAP). The key deliverables of ATSAP and the outcome of the Rail Development Plan are expected to be available to the government and the region by the end of 2006.

“With the long lead in time required for the tendering, commissioning and procurement process for new rolling stock, we need to be making decisions as soon as practicable,” said Mr Roche.

ENDS

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