Posted on February 15, 2016
Auckland Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas has rubbished Phil Goff’s enthusiasm for an untested and unfunded light rail system serving central Auckland.
“Throwing support behind undeveloped and unfunded ideas has been a hallmark of Len Brown’s mayoralty. Auckland’s are still waiting for rail to Albany and rail to the airport the Mayor promised in his first election campaign. Labour’s candidate is falling into the same trap.”
“He is also confusing his funding options. While congestion charging or tolls can have a role to play in a congested transport system – if there are free alternatives – tolling shouldn’t be used as ‘money grab’ to pay for other projects.
Thomas said Len Brown was right to be “cool” on light-rail when Auckland Transport surprised everyone with this option in January 2015.
“This followed the detailed City Centre Access Study released at the end of 2012 which said an integrated bus and underground rail would meet Auckland’s needs and was a better option than light rail.”
The study said: “Taking an integrated option of the underground rail option and filling in gaps with the best operational aspects of the surface bus option will effectively address City Centre Access for the next 30 years and beyond from the south, east and west as well as the central and southern isthmus
Thomas said he also understood that other New Zealand transport agencies were lukewarm on the light-rail option for Auckland as other international solutions maybe more cost effective.
“Phil Goff’s rush to jump at light rail for central Auckland is also cold comfort for people in the North, West, East and South of Auckland.
“For example, the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) which substantially improves transport between Pakuranga and Panmure is the second highest priority project in the Auckland Plan after the City Rail Link and yet the next phase remains unfunded by council.”
“Auckland Transport’s imminent release of its light-rail study will produce more information, but this will need to be much better considered than Mr Goff has done against other high priority projects around the rest of the region.”