More gridlock busters needed
4 August 2017
More gridlock busters needed – Auckland Council ‘fair share’ awaited
The leadership from Government in recent weeks to accelerate solutions to Auckland’s infrastructure shortfall crises is superb, but Auckland Council also needs to come to the party.
Since mid-July, Government has announced $300 million to provide transport and water infrastructure for new housing in West Auckland, and $600 million for network infrastructure for new housing in Wainui (near Silverdale on Auckland’s North Shore) and South Auckland (Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe).
With today’s $2.6 billion to accelerate two big transport projects (Mill Road and Northwestern busway) and put the AMETI project on a fast track, a massive $3.5 billion of tax payers money has been committed to fixing Auckland, notes Michael Barnett, head of Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
“It is great that government has lifted its game to help Auckland bring forward long-planned infrastructure projects.”
The funding for the projects indicated will help close any funding gap (of up to $7 billion) of the $27 billion worth of investment in Auckland transport projects proposed over the next decade.
“I note that the Government is working closely with Auckland Council on new ways to accelerate and deliver the full $27 billion package.”
“I would have thought that Auckland Council having more skin in the game would be about both parties continuing to dialogue on solution-based thinking and creative answers to give certainty that a full and comprehensive package will be forthcoming.
“We need to give the construction industry certainty and encouragement to gear up and tap international resources to ensure the 10-year time line can be achieved.”
“And we can’t continue to just
rely on government – it would unfair on the rest of New
Zealand,” said Mr Barnett.
Auckland’s current contribution to transport is around $600 million annually, well below the benchmark 50-50% that other councils contribute with government to fund local transport infrastructure.
The case too for Auckland to dramatically lift the pace and accelerate critical infrastructure is now overwhelming and proven beyond doubt, said Mr Barnett.
In recent days we have had two strong bits of evidence reinforcing the benefits of faster progress:
The Waterview Tunnel has slashed peak time travel on the western ring route, in some cases cutting the journey time by nearly half between the North Shore and Auckland Airport; and,
An NZIER report has confirmed Auckland’s is costing business about $1.9 billion annually and well above the level of comparable cities and projected to get worse – and that doesn’t cover weekends and many other social costs ignored by the study.
“The solution-led focus Government has started to unveil is exactly what is needed. I would like to think it is an incentive for Auckland Council to come on board with its own solution-based thinking and creative answers to Auckland’s big issues.”
“Business expects this as I am sure most Aucklanders do,” concluded Mr Barnett.