Posted on July 22, 2016
The NZ Herald has covered my comments on Auckland Transport’s recent decision to abandon a heavy rail option to the airport in response to Councillor Mike Lee’s advertising his objection.
I said that it’s nuts that we don’t have a modern, fast way of getting to the airport and it’s taken too long to resolve.
AT reports that light rail would cost $1 billion more than heavy but actually both options could cost $2 billion in total – because we still have to build the first half of the light rail system. Given many public airport rail services around the world are unprofitable it’s hard to justify to ratepayers spending so much as a public system would require ongoing subsidy.
However an exception is Brisbane’s privately built and operated Airtrain. Also, the Northern busway has been a big success and a version of this should have been part of the air link investigations much earlier. These are the options I will pursue.
Auckland needs to spend an extra $400 million per year to fix our existing transport backlog, and we can’t do that by gold-plating.
If a busway is the most cost-effective option now, we can still future proof for rail. Alternatively, we should look at the private option.
But my priority is to get on with it and build a solution that delivers better transport sooner.”