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Prime Minister's speech realistic for Auckland transport

Prime Minister’s speech realistic in progressing Auckland transport projects

David Thornton
26 June 2013

The Prime Minister’s programme for Auckland’s major transport projects is a measured and realistic approach to dealing with growing congestion and population growth.

While some may dispute the order of priorities the programme recognises the huge cost involved and the wisdom of spreading those costs over a lengthy period bearing in mind the Governments other major financial obligation, the rebuild of Christchurch.

The real tests are yet to come, especially the forecast costs of land acquisition and construction, and how these costs will be funded.

Rough estimates suggest a total cost of $10 billion for the three major projects and it is obvious Auckland Council will have to fund part of this.

Government’s commitment reflects the availability of funds from the partial sale of assets and Auckland Council should also consider selling assets to cover some the costs it will need to fund.

The one contentious decision may be the choice of a tunnel link rather than a bridge not least on the questions of cost with the bridge estimated cost of around $3.5 billion against a tunnel cost of $5.2 billion.

While there is likely to be general approval for Governments commitment to fund half the cost of the City Rail Link, ratepayers will be anxiously awaiting Council’s proposals for funding its half share.

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David Thornton was a member of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee in the late 1990 when 147 possible locations for a new Harbour Crossing were assessed and a route adjacent to the existing Bridge became the preferred option!

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