Which parts of the country will see the biggest increase in road and rail projects?
Posted On August 1, 2021
A bill to fund rail projects in Auckland and Hamilton will increase the amount of funding allocated by the Government to the New Zealand Transport Agency by more than half, with the Auckland Council expecting the Auckland Link and Auckland Ferry routes to get double the funding allocated under the previous Government.
The Government’s plan will see rail lines upgraded, new tracks added, more track maintenance and improved signalling, and the Government will invest more in new infrastructure projects.
Auckland Council is now calling for the Government’s transport funding plan to be extended, and for the $9 billion plan to include a boost to the Auckland City Link.
“We want the Government back on track and that’s why we’re calling on them to make sure we get the Auckland link, we want the Auckland Ferry to get the money back and we want to see the Auckland Transport Link fully funded,” Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.
Dalziel has previously called for a “fair shake” for rail projects, but she said this year’s funding plan was “very, very low”.
“I’ve been saying for a long time that we need to get rail back to a level where we can run a fair and equitable business,” she said.
“We’ve seen the Auckland LRT is not the same as the Auckland Harbour Link, and I’ve got a real challenge for the city of Auckland.”
The Government is planning to invest $1 billion in the Auckland Port Link, which is the busiest railway line in New Zealand, with a similar increase in funding for the Port Link’s Auckland Link.
The Government is also aiming to increase the funding for rail line upgrades in Auckland, Hamilton and Waikato.
While the Auckland Government has promised to spend the $4 billion in funding on the Auckland Connector, it is understood the Government has yet to commit to funding that rail line.
However, it would be the third time the Government is increasing funding for a project in the past two years, and could see a return of some of the money allocated to the Portlink.
But the Auckland Metropolitan Government, which runs Auckland Transport, said the Government was not putting enough resources into its existing projects, such as the PortLink.
It said the increase would only help the city, but was still not enough.
City of Auckland chief executive Andrew Scipione said he hoped the Government would reconsider, and that the money was well spent.
“This is a significant increase, it’s a significant investment in the future of Auckland, and it’s also good for Aucklanders,” Scipion said.
“It’s a very important project for Auckland, it needs to be funded.”
The Mayor said she was confident the Government could deliver the $1.5 billion boost for the Auckland city Link, but it needed to look at what other funding sources were available.
“It’s not only about the Port link, it also has to be done for other projects, for the Canterbury, for Waikatipu, for Dunedin,” she told Radio New Zealand.
Tighter funding could mean faster projects, Scipian said.
“The Government must put forward a detailed plan to address the funding needs and the quality of service Auckland needs, because there’s a shortage of infrastructure,” he said.