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Rail top priority in ten-year plan to transform Auckland

4 August 2011

Rail top priority in ten-year plan to transform Auckland

The Mayor has given his first indication of how the Auckland Plan will be implemented during the next decade with the City Rail Link the top priority.

It came at a meeting of the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance Committee this afternoon.

Implementation will come through the 2012-22 Long Term Plan. It is an initiative the Mayor has legislative responsibility for leading.

“The one project that stands out above all others in supporting the goals of the Auckland Plan is the City Rail Link,” says Len Brown.

“It is central to creating the world class transport system Aucklanders deserve and will open up public transport across the region, spurring economic growth and urban regeneration”.

Other key projects include the ATEED major events strategy which he describes as a catalyst for Auckland’s attractiveness as a destination and enhancing the quality of life for Aucklanders and council support for the protection of the St James Theatre.

The Mayor reinforced that there is scope to reprioritise existing work programmes and to work within existing fiscal envelopes to achieve many of the priorities of the Auckland Plan.

“My focus is to keep rates reasonable for Auckland families with increases at or around the rate of inflation during the next ten years. However we do face the considerable challenge of bringing together the rates systems of legacy councils.”

He has also called for the investigation of new funding tools such as congestion charging or network charging to fund transport projects.

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The Mayor also believes council land and buildings without strategic significance should be considered for sale to release capital for priority projects.

Len Brown has also confirmed the principle of development contributions to fund new infrastructure, a review of regulatory fees and Local Board funding in the wake of transition and involvement in funding and pricing of Watercare services.

“We must recognise that keeping the status quo is not an option for Auckland - substantial growth will occur.”

“We can bury our heads in the sand and stick with the same old, same old, or we take a proactive approach and shape the new Auckland, meeting the needs of that growth while creating the world’s most liveable city.”

“To do that will take courage and persistence. The key building blocks have to be delivered during the next decade. There is no option.”

ENDS

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