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$112 Million Tranzrail Deal Disturbing

$112 Million Tranzrail Deal Disturbing, Not Understood

Auckland's councils offer to buy back the local rail network from Tranzrail for $112 million is not understood by business or residential ratepayers, the Employers & Manufacturers Association says.

"Our councils have not explained how spending $112 million with Tranzrail for access to the local rail tracks will benefit Auckland," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"There is little information available on the deal, no communication with the public on its cost benefit analysis, or on how it is to be paid for. For instance, we don't know how many more commuters are expected to go by rail as a result of the proposal, or what type of vehicles would run on the tracks.

"If buses are to be dual fitted to travel by road as well as rail then someone should say so.

"Neither do we know how much additional spending is needed to upgrade rail stations, tracks, or to buy trains. This could run into hundreds of millions, presumably to be paid for by Infrastructure Auckland, ratepayers and taxpayers.

"The cost for access to the track seems enormously high to most people, and the focus on the rail-based proposal is plainly at the expense of advancing other public and private transport solutions.

"This is not to say the proposal lacks merit. But when the Prime Minister on behalf of taxpayers, and as an advocate of public transport, says most Aucklanders don't live within cooee of a railway station, she too has not been given any information to persuade her that the proposal stacks up.

"Business is not against making far better use of the rail network, but a bus based public transport solution seems to offer greater cost advantages, especially if it is integrated with the development of Auckland's motorway network. This is what Aucklanders said they wanted in the recent Automobile Association survey.

"Local councillors are likely to face a massive backlash at next year's local body elections if they don't provide a detailed justification for the rail based system, or alternatively, abandon it."

Further comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911

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