Auckland In the Future: Rail Links Everywhere – But What Happens To This Plan Now?


Imagine Auckland in 2041– a Metro line from Manukau City to Botany Downs, from Albany to Downtown and a rail link to the airport reaching Puhunui.
How wonderful is that!

On Wednesday afternoon, the Auckland Regional Council’s transport committee discusses its next 30 year transport strategy for the city.waterfront

One option before the committee places a big emphasis on implementing a behaviour change programme - “push” factors – involving developing “very attractive” public transport to push people out of their cars.

This involves continued major investment in rail, bus and ferry infrastructure and service improvements; improving the operation of existing roads especially regional arterials; construction of limited additional road capacity and reducing the impacts of transport on the natural environment and communities.

All options before the committee promote electric rail and a CBD loop tunnel. On the issue of Britomart, the committee’s report says studies have progressed to future proof links such as the CBD Rail Loop to turn Britomart into a through station and rail to Auckland International Airport.

But a couple of the options push for quicker implementation of a passenger transport system involving rail and busways.

One of those options is encouraged by Australian-based, international consultants, Parsons Brinckerhoff, which says it has worked on some of the world’s most significant infrastructure projects. It has put forward a strategic option for a comprehensive network linking non-CBD centres and catering for non-work trips.

The suggested enhancements include:

  • A new Metro line (underground heavy rail) from Manukau City to Botany to Panmure to Remuera Road to CBD to Pt Chevalier to Unitec
  • Metro from the North Shore (Massey University to CBD) then through the CBD to Auckland University then down Dominion Road
  • Rail from CBD to Onehunga to Airport to PuhinuiThe authority’s 30 year plan says investment in public transport services and infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth in travel demand. “This means for many people there is little or no choice but to use private vehicles. Those with limited or no access to cars are severely disadvantaged. It also means that Auckland has only very recently started to develop high capacity reliable public transport on major routes where public transport has the ability to significantly contribute to reduction in congestion and provision of more environmentally sustainable transport.”

    And as this blog regularly notes, question marks remain about where things like integrated ticketing and new station development have got to now the government has changed the funding plan.

    The authority committee notes in its “progress” report on rail:

    “Incoming National Govt has declined to implement Regional Fuel Tax and is investing in new ways of funding transport projects. How this will be funded is unclear but all projects relying on Regional Fuel Taxes are on hold.”

    And on integrated ticketing it says:

    ” While it is arguable whether this project is technically ‘committed’, it is critical to the PT (Public Transport) network upgrades, particularly the already committed DART and rail electrification projects.”

    graftonThe bigger question is how much of all this wonderful thinking is redundant as bizarrely it’s taking place against a backdrop of parliament passing the first law to set up an Auckland supercity, the agreement for the second relevant supercity law to move forward to a special parliamentary select committee and Cabinet trying to agree on the members of the transition agency.

    So the regional council won’t see out the next 30 years as it will be out of business in 18 months or so.
    The agenda the council set for adopting this 30 year old transport plan included discussing the options on Wednesday, approving a draft plan on September 16, consultation then hearings next February and the final adoption by the full regional council in April 2010.

    There’s some very important planning and thinking going on here and we can not afford to lose the momentum or have more rail development proposals fall into a deep hole. But once again the poor old rail commuter faces uncertainty.

  • Related Posts

    1. Auckland’s next 10 year rail plan unveiled - another fantasy?
    2. Does the 10 - year transport plan signal a train wreck?
    3. ARC member widens the thinking on an inner Auckland rail tunnel
    4. Onehunga - Auckland Rail Link: Here’s what’s really going on
    5. Transport Minister: Committed to Public Transport Funding - But Is The Integrated Ticketing Plan Now Dead?




    1. Joshua says:

      Looks bloody fantastic to me! The ARC has come a long way in the past 5 years. For the 2005 RLTS we had a choice of “roads or more roads”. Now we have “rail or more rail”. I feel like I’m going to miss them actually.

    2. AR says:

      GREAT! Oh but wait, is that 2041 I see? Long time to wait for a decent transit system…I guess it’ll still be TALK TALK TALK till then.


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