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Decision Digest – November 2023 Auckland Transport Board Meeting

The Auckland Transport (AT) Board made several notable decisions at its November meeting on Tuesday, as well as hearing a statement from the Waiheke Local Board about Waiheke ferry services, wharf infrastructure, and AT’s role in enabling competition on the route.

In his opening remarks, Acting Chair Mark Darrow also acknowledged the ongoing work of AT’s Transport Officers.

Standing items

Chief Executive Open Business Report: The Board heard from Chief Executive Dean Kimpton about recent work with KiwiRail on a 30-year investment programme, the Future Development Strategy, Eastern Busway progress, and the Room to Move parking strategy.

Dean acknowledged AT’s progress on flood recovery and noted that a public campaign on road maintenance will start in December. The Board heard that AT is confident that the planned 400km of renewals and maintenance across the Auckland local road network will be delivered over the summer months.

The Board also heard about the network management challenges AT is facing and the recent projects affecting Karangahape Road. Dean Kimpton acknowledged that although AT had consulted and engaged earlier this year on Karangahape Road changes, we to do more to maintain keep communities informed on what is happening and on individual projects, their timing and impacts.

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Dean also outlined AT’s commitment to managing traffic flows around busy shopping centres such as Westfield Newmarket and working collaboratively with shopping centre operators to enable this.

Climate Change and Sustainability: The board heard from Jenny Chetwynd and Adam Weller about the draft Climate Change and Sustainability Report and Dashboard, which helps show how we are tracking with climate and sustainability targets.

Items for decision

Regional Public Transport Plan: The Board heard from Andrew McGill about feedback on the Regional Public Transport Plan. The Board would not be asked to endorse the full plan until funding was clear in Auckland’s Long-Term Plan.

Decision: The Board approved the Regional Public Transport Plan, apart from the service change initiatives.

Rail Investment Programme: The Board heard that the KiwiRail Board has already endorsed the Rail Investment Programme which will significantly contribute towards Council and national strategic and policy outcomes including emissions reduction from both passenger and freight transport. Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) has already been involved in the development of the programme, which at this stage is unfunded.

Decision: The Board approved the 30-year heavy rail investment programme outlined within the Rail Programme Business Case.

Auckland Rapid Transit Plan: The Auckland Rapid Transit Plan sets out the next thirty years of rapid transit requirements for the region and guidance on how this should be realised. The Board heard that the plan has been developed in collaboration work with Waka Kotahi and Auckland Council.

Decision: The Board endorsed the Auckland Rapid Transit Plan as a baseline reference document.

Rosedale Station and Road Widening Construction Procurement: The Board heard about the history of the project and the level of funding required, as well as the extent of the bus priority lane to be installed along Rosedale Road.

Decision: The Board delegated financial authority to the Chief Executive for procurement plan approval, tender release, tender evaluation report approval and contract award of the project physical works, subject to funding in the Long-Term Plan.

Meadowbank Kohimarama Connectivity Project – Gowing Drive: The key objective of this project is to provide a safe way to walk and cycle across the Pourewa Valley, which separates Meadowbank and Kohimarama. The Board discussed the potential funding constraints and whether to proceed to consenting before all funding streams are confirmed. The Board heard about AT’s commitments to the local community and elected members about wanting to progress this project, subject to funding.

Decision: The Board approved a project budget increase of $11.4m for the Meadowbank Kohimarama Connectivity Project, increasing the total estimated cost from the February 2021 Detailed Business Case concept design 2020 price estimate of $21m to a P50 detailed design estimate of $32.4m as a result of enhanced engineering requirements and inflation for the southern connection at Gowing Drive and Eastern Rail Line underpass.

The Board also approved the project to proceed subject to:

  • approval of Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency co-funding of 51% for the cost estimate increase, and
  • confirmation of the $8m Regional Fuel Tax funding or other supplementary funding contribution in the event Regional Fuel Tax is not available.

Annual Fare Review and Fare Strategy: The Board heard a proposal to increase public transport fares by a weighted average of 6.2 per cent and noted that an independent review of the fare structure will be undertaken to inform future changes. This will explore fare settings and initiatives such as price caps and show how public transport fares in Auckland compare with international counterparts.

Decision: The Board approved changes to the Public Transport fare schedule as provided as Attachment 1, targeted for 4 February 2024

Safety Business Report: The Board heard that incidents of violence, threats and aggression against staff remain the most reported health, safety and wellbeing related event. Deaths and Serious Injuries are down for vulnerable road users but there has been a large increase for motorcycle users. Concerns were raised around the challenging environment in which transport officers operate and their access to adequate support – the Board was assured systems are in place to support those staff.

Decision: The Board received the report.

Katoa, Ka Ora – draft Auckland Speed Management Plan 2024-2027: The Board received a summary of consultation feedback on Katoa, Ka Ora.

Sixteen of twenty-one local boards were at least mostly supportive of the proposed changes with 74% of Aucklanders supporting speed limit reductions around schools/kindergartens.

Decision: The Board noted the summary of public consultation feedback.

It also noted which local boards have confirmed their support for proposed speed limit changes by way of resolution and that the Katoa, Ka Ora programme’s timeline is set by the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 and Director of Land Transport, which requires AT to submit a speed management plan by March 2024. The Rule is current law and AT is legally required to follow these legal obligations and timelines.

***

You can find the agenda with all the details on each item here: Meetings & minutes.

The next meeting of the AT Board will take place on 27 February 2024.

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