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Bad idea to capitalise patronage funding

“Bad idea to capitalise patronage funding”
30 July 2001

ARC Chairman Philip Warren said today that he is pleased that Transfund has recognised the importance of the Waitemata Waterfront Interchange, or Britomart development, to Auckland’s transport plans in granting $20 million towards the project.

“Britomart forms the hub of the proposed rapid transit system for Auckland – it is essential for the integration of Auckland’s rapid transit services and the ARC supports Auckland City in making it happen,” said Phil Warren.

“But there is a key problem with Transfund’s decision. Transfund says it will take half of that $20 million from the ARC’s future operating subsidies for passenger transport services.”

“This is because Transfund has a narrow view that says Auckland can have money either for building infrastructure like Britomart or for supporting bus, rail and ferry services with a patronage-based subsidy, but we can’t have it for both.”

Chairman Warren said that Transfund claims that paying for infrastructure and for services is “double-funding”. “We do not agree. Auckland has a lot of catch-up investment to make in infrastructure for public transport to build interchanges such as Britomart, to purchase new rolling stock, and to upgrade the rail corridors and stations, bus stations and ferry terminals.”

“We won’t be able to afford to do all of that upgrading and run high quality services out of a straight $3 per peak-hour passenger and the funding we can reasonably get from IA and ratepayers.

“In our view, this so-called ‘double funding’ policy is unsustainable; it won’t lead to the transport outcomes that the Government and the Region want to achieve, and it needs to be revisited,” said Phil Warren.

“I don’t believe that capitalising of patronage funding is what the Government intended when they set up the Patronage Funding regime.”

“If it isn’t revisited, and soon, it will put Auckland’s transport future at serious risk.

“We want the Government to engage with us urgently to sort this issue out,” said PhilWarren, “and in no way adversely affect the building of Britomart.”

For further information please call: ARC Chairman Philip Warren, tel 366 2000 x 7111
Or Barry Mein, Director of Transport, phone 366 2000 x 8141

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