Fast-tracking City Rail Link now dependent on AK, not Wgtn
Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Fast-tracking City Rail Link now dependent on Auckland, not Wellington
The Green Party and Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s promise to fast-track the construction of the $2.8b City Rail Link is actually completely dependent on Auckland finding half the funding and increasing its rail patronage to 20 million passenger trips per annum, but both look unlikely in the foreseeable future, says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer in response to the Green Party’s rally today and Mayor Brown’s recent election promise.
“Auckland Council is miles off agreeing to how it’s going to advance any alternative transport funding such as tolling existing motorways or pushing for a regional fuel tax to plug the $12b funding gap. All we know is that the second-term council is due to get a ‘next steps’ report by the end of this year. However, the reality is convincing Auckland’s driving public that they should be the ones to pay for it will take a few more years, not months.”
Mr Brewer says with the Government recently agreeing to fund 50% of the City Rail Link, the Green Party needs to shift its focus to motivating Auckland Council to confirm its own funding solution as well encourage more Aucklanders to take the train in the interim.
“The Government has agreed to start the project before 2020 if annual rail patronage increases to 20 million trips. However in the past year rail patronage has dramatically fallen from 11 million trips to 10.1 million. The best thing the Green Party can do is not have supporters drive to Britomart for a one-off political rally, but convince more Aucklanders to take the train daily, and then this Government has promised to act.”
“Six months ago the Mayor and Labour and Green parties could easily point to the Government and blame it for lack of action. However Wellington’s since put its hand up and called Auckland’s bluff. It’s actually now over to Auckland’s City Rail Link proponents to convince drivers to pay extra and for more to start taking the train. When that happens, they will get their earlier construction,” says Mr Brewer.