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Minister Must Cancel Expensive Light Rail

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is calling for Michael Wood, the Minister of Transport, and now Auckland, to cancel the light rail project immediately.

Auckland Light Rail was never going to happen, as our group has repeatedly said dozens of times over the past 6 years. It was flawed from the beginning as it was too slow to be rapid transit and too costly to construct. The Labour government and some transport advocacy groups would not listen to our concerns, but ultimately the PTUA has been proven right. $30 billion on slow tram is unsustainable for taxpayers.

The PTUA fully supports the original Auckland Transport plan consulted on and agreed to with the people of Auckland in 2016. That plan called for three shorter lines from the CBD traversing down Dominion Road, Mount Eden Road and Manukau Rd. “These three were based on the original, very popular tram lines closed in 1956” said Jon Reeves, National Coordinator of the PTUA.

Using light rail trams as a main public transport link to our largest International Airport always has been a terrible idea, with the only supporters being highly paid light rail consultants, the Labour and Green parties and now even they are wilting at the costs ballooning to potentially $30+ billion.

Short Rail Extension Better

The PTUA fully supports a relatively short extension of the existing heavy rail network from Puhinui to the Airport. The distance for the heavy rail extension is just over 6 kilometers for a fraction of the cost of light rail.

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Benefits of a heavy rail extension;

  • Faster to construct
  • Lower cost to build
  • Truly rapid rail services with speeds of up to 110km/per hour
  • Fully integrated with direct train services to Britomart, Pukekohe, Hamilton and Tauranga – just like most other major international airports with 21+ million passengers per year
  • Utilises existing AT passenger rail rolling stock – economies of scale

To date the Government has spent over $66 million on its Auckland Light Rail project, and many millions has most likely been spent separately by Auckland Transport through the use of Council staff on this project. “This is a complete waste of money that should have been directly spent on public transport services to get the basics right. It is taxpayers’ money down the drain” Reeves added.

During the last government New Zealand First managed to stop Auckland Light Rail progressing. Now it is time for the Minister of Transport, Michael Wood, to show some common sense and axe Auckland Light Rail once and for all.

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