$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

SCCZEN_A_180615NZHJOTRAINS08_620x310The Government and Auckland Council have today signed off terms of reference setting out how central and local government will work together to develop the city’s transport system.

Finance Minister Bill English said more than 700,000 additional people were expected to live in Auckland by 2045.

“Long-term solutions for Auckland’s transport system are central to ensuring it remains a great place to live and do business, and it is also important for the economy as a whole.”

“This population growth means Auckland will need another 400,000 houses over this time frame – and transport infrastructure is key to delivering this.”

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said that together the Government and Council planned to invest $4.2 billion in Auckland’s transport system over the next three years.

“While that work will continue as agreed on the roads, public transport, walkways and cycle ways, we are now turning our focus to the next three decades and beyond.

“The Government and Council broadly agree on the priorities for the transport system, and we are particularly focussed on addressing congestion and increasing public transport use,” he said.

The terms of reference set out a structure under which officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission would work together to test alternative options for how the transport system could develop.

A preferred approach was expected to be presented by officials in about one year.

“The Government and Council will then consider the preferred approach and how it may be delivered, including whether changes might be needed to legislation and funding arrangements,” Mr Bridges said.

The Automobile Association, Auckland Business Forum and Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) welcomed progress on the joint transport project.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett said he hoped it put an end to Auckland-Wellington feuding on the city’s transport priorities.

EMA chief executive Kim Campbell said the city was struggling to cope with growth, 7000 new cars were being registered every month and there was a compelling case for further spending on transport.

“We want to see funding streams and time frames for moving these vital projects along,” Mr Campbell said.

Source

  • The Herald
  • Photo – Jason Oxenham

Big step for City Rail Link

Britomartstationdrawing_620x310Auckland Council recently announced a big step forward in its City Rail Link project, revealing details of the deal struck with listed landlord Precinct Properties to have underground tunnels built near the waterfront, under a new $550 million glass skyscraper.

Mayor Len Brown described the deal as a milestone and an historic moment for Auckland.

Britomartstationdesign_620x310“This is the first step towards the construction of the CRL. It will lead to an exciting transformation of the public spaces around the Britomart train station area. And it’s an example of how a partnership with the private sector can deliver economic transformation and more jobs in Auckland,” he has just announced.

He also released new images of the Britomart station and a map showing where the tunnels would run.

New rail tunnels must be constructed through the site now occupied by the Downtown Shopping Centre, which Precinct owns, the statement said.

Precinct also owns two adjacent commercial office towers – HSBC Tower at 1 Queen Street and Zurich House at 21 Queen Street, it said.

The deal between the two parties enables the rail tunnels to be built as part of the Downtown Development Project. Elements involved include the sale to Precinct of part of Queen Elizabeth Square for $27.2 million; Payment to Precinct of $9 million for provision of an East-West pedestrian laneway between Queen Street and Albert Street and compensation for tunnels volume; Payment of $10.7 million for additional costs of office tower construction due to CRL tunnels; and the creation of a new downtown civic space between the project and Britomart, the statement said.

Mr Brown said the deal meant a coordinated approach could now be taken to the construction work, with Auckland Transport building the CRL tunnels either side of the Precinct downtown shopping centre site from Britomart to Wyndham Street and Precinct Properties building the tunnels below its site.

Source:

  • NZ Herald

Early start for rail link?

railchurrThe Government is looking at an early start on the $2.4 billion City Rail Link – but only for a short section of the route to go with the redevelopment of the Downtown Shopping Centre. The underground rail link starts at Britomart and goes under Lower Queen St and the shopping centre before turning up Albert St bound for Mt Eden.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee told the Herald he had met Precinct Properties about plans for a $400 million to $500 million redevelopment of the downtown site.

Once those plans were firmed up, he said, the Government would want to see how the rail link and redevelopment might gel to ensure everyone got the best results out of the time the site was under construction.

But Mr Brownlee stressed there was no commitment from Precinct at this point and no commitment from the Government, which wanted construction on the full link to start in 2020. The section of the route under the downtown site “would be lucky to be 100m”, he said.

This is the first public indication from the Government of an early start on the rail link, which Auckland Mayor Len Brown wants to start building in 2016.

He is citing the downtown redevelopment as one reason to kickstart a $250 million cut-and-cover section of the link from Britomart and up much of Albert St.

Precinct chief executive Scott Pritchard yesterday said the company notified the stock exchange through its annual results reporting last week of a downtown start date in the first quarter of 2016. The annual results show the company is in the design phase and hopes to have resource consent and be committed to the project by the middle of next year.

“It would make sense to have works around that location done at the same time,” Mr Pritchard said. “Any Aucklander and visitor doesn’t want to see the bottom of the city under [construction for years].”

Last night, Mr Brown said it was great news the Government shared the view he heard every day that the rail link should be built as soon as possible.

Mr Brown – who has yet to fund the rail link – told a New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development symposium yesterday that work was coming to the “pointy end” of finding $300 million to $400 million of new funding sources a year to plug an $8 billion to $12 billion transport funding gap.

The Government rejected tolls, a regional fuel tax and congestion charges to meet the gap, and ratepayers baulked at high debt and rates.

Source:

NZ Herald

Design changes for City Rail Link- with video

railimpression_620x310Auckland Transport (AT) has decided to redevelop the existing Mt Eden Station and connect it to the CRL rather than build a new underground station at Newton.

Since the CRL’s concept design was developed two years ago, there has been concerted effort to optimise the design and drive value for money.  The on-going design improvement process included a comprehensive review of all project elements by an international “challenge team” of experts.

The improved design will connect passengers at Mt Eden Station to the CRL which previously bypassed them and improve operational reliability through the provision of a separated east-west junction so train lines won’t need to cross over each other.

Benefits

Customer experience
  • Improves reliability with grade separated junction
  • Allows Mt Eden passengers to connect to CRL
  • Saves time for 3000 passengers a day – 95 a day have longer journeys
  • Deep lifts replaced by open to air platforms
  • Provides better modal transfer
Development 
  • Leverages development of construction site
  • Better fit with wider development potential
Construction impacts
  • Reduces construction disruption on Symonds St by 12-18 months
  • Reduces construction effects on some properties
  • Six fewer surface properties required
  • About a dozen fewer sub-surface properties required
Cost
  • Reduces capital cost by $124 million
  • Reduces operational expenditure

A video of the new design;

 

Source:

 

  • at.govt.nz
  • youtube.com

City planning for rail link

Construction of a new shopping centre on a site to be demolished for the Central Rail Link is scheduled to begin four years before Government funding of the transport project.

Site owner Precinct Properties yesterday announced a deal with Auckland Council to co-ordinate the timing of work at Downtown Shopping Centre on Queen St with the building of a tunnel there for the City Rail Link.

“We welcome the chance to work … with the council as obviously it would make a lot of sense to co-ordinate timing so they can advance works for the CRL tunnel at this site at the same time as we develop the downtown centre,” Precinct chief executive Scott Pritchard said.

rail link

Precinct plans to build a new shopping centre with an extra level of outlets as well as a tower office block on the site, giving a preliminary start date of 2016. This is in line with the council’s preferred schedule for the City Rail Link construction to begin.

Prime Minister John Key indicated a delayed start date of 2020 when he announced government financial backing of the $2.86 billion project.

But he has said the start could be brought forward if Auckland Transport could lift annual train patronage to 20 million passenger trips “well before 2020” and show a 25 per cent leap in CBD jobs.

The target is almost double current train patronage.

Mayor Len Brown said it was possible construction could start early.

“The Prime Minister has left open the possibility of an earlier start for the CRL and we will continue to discuss timing with the Government. My view is an earlier start would be significantly more cost effective and allow Auckland to reap the economic benefits sooner, but those are discussions we are yet to have.”

Mr Pritchard said the sooner work could start, “the better”.

“We are supporters of the City Rail Link, and the ability for public transport to bring more people into the city would be good for our business,” he said. “From a business perspective the sooner the better, and if this acts as a catalyst to bring forward the date that would be good.”

The shopping centre sits on land required to build and operate the rail link. Two rail lines will emerge from Britomart travelling below QEII Square and Downtown, before curving under Albert St as they head south to connect with the line at Mt Eden.

Mr Brown said the agreement to try to co-ordinate construction was “another great step” in the progress of the CBD rail link. “Today we celebrate 10 years since the first train service at Britomart and here we are a decade later agreeing to negotiate a kick-start for the next exciting phase of our city’s rail future,” he said.

The link will be able to carry 30,000 people an hour at peak times, with trains running every 5 to 10 minutes.

Train timetable

2020
Govt date to fund half the cost of $2.86 billion City Rail Link, unless Auckland Transport can lift train patronage and CBD jobs.

2016
Auckland Council’s preferred start-date and scheduled start for construction of new shopping centre above the link.

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Picture: aucklandtransport.govt.nz

Major Infrastructure plans for Auckland

The Government will push major roading projects In Auckland including a wider southern motorway, upgraded roading to the airport, and a freight corridor in Manukau before it begins work on the City Rail Link and a second Waitemata Harbour Crossing, Prime Minister John Key has revealed this afternoon.

mapAuckTransport1 (1)

Mr Key confirmed that Government would back Auckland’s three top transport priorities – the City Rail Link, another Waitemata Harbour crossing, and the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), which includes the East-West Link.

“These three projects are all identified as the highest transport priorities in the Council’s Auckland Plan,” he said. “They have a price tag of around $10 billion and they are projects that need to be planned for over a long period of time.”

The harbour crossing will be twin tunnels under the Waitemata – the option of another bridge has been ruled out – and construction was expected to start between 2025 and 2030. Auckland Council would begin protecting land for the development in December once the alignment of the crossing had been finalised.

Mr Key said construction of the City Rail Link would not begin until 2020 unless employment levels in the central city climbed by 25 per cent and annual rail trips hit 20 million a year.

“We will consider an earlier start date if it becomes clear that Auckland’s CBD employment and rail patronage growth hit thresholds faster than current rates of growth suggest.

“I realise 2020 is not what the Council leadership is wanting, but while we may differ on timeframes, there is clear recognition by the Government that the project will be needed to address access to the Auckland CBD and improve the efficiency of rail.”

Total rail trips are around 11 million a year.

Mr Key confirmed that the Government’s “next major focus” for Auckland would be the AMETI project, which is already underway but was not scheduled to be completed for 20 years.

“Given the importance of the area, delivering these projects over 20 years is simply not acceptable.”

Government has asked the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) which parts of AMETI could be accelerated with additional funding.

“As you know, the area between Onehunga, Mt Wellington and East Tamaki is home to a number of industrial and logistics businesses that make a critical contribution to the Auckland and national economy.

“About as many people are employed here as in the CBD and there is considerable potential for more growth.

“However, the transport links in and out of this area aren’t up to the job.

“Truck drivers have told us they can get stuck in congestion at any time during the working day and a seven-minute trip between Metroport and the Onehunga wharf can take as long as 40 minutes.”

The $2.6 billion project included a $1.1 billion East-West Link, a road between Mt Wellington and Onehunga.

Government also planned to fast-track three NZTA projects:

– A motorway-to-motorway link between the Upper Harbour Highway and the Northern Motorway at Constellation Drive

– Widening of the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura

– Upgrade of the State Highway 20A link to the airport to motorway standard

These developments were designed to reduce congestion, capitalise on the benefits of the Western Ring Route, and improve access to the airport.

Mr Key said: “Under current funding assumptions, construction of these projects may be up to 10 years away from starting.

“But the Government is not prepared to wait that long.”

Government will consult with NZTA on how to bring these projects forward, and will provide additional funding to make this happen.

The transport package did not mention rail to the airport, which was no longer one of the highest priorities for the Auckland Council.

It has not yet been made clear how Government will source its funding for its share of these projects, but the Prime Minister has confirmed that some of the $2.86 billion rail link could be paid for with proceeds from asset sales.

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Isaac Davison

Auckland Inner City Rail Link a reality???

Auckland is pushing ahead with its plans for the Inner City Rail Link by releasing the desired route plan this week. Officials are now contacting landowners with property on the route of the $2.86 billion project.

http://tinyurl.com/7xqsguj

Source: NZ Herald

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