The numbers don’t add up, but at least Auckland Council & the Government are trying to make progress on bridging the shortfall of several billion dollars in infrastructure funding to meet projections of higher population growth.
From 2 statements issued on Friday by Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Transport Minister Simon Bridges, you have these 2 sets of figures:
Mr Goff: “Council & Government have identified the need to lift transport spending from $24 billion to nearly $27 billion and bring forward a range of major projects to address growing transport congestion.”
Mr Bridges: “ATAP (the Auckland transport alignment project) agencies were asked to provide an update of how much additional funding may be required in the first decade to meet the challenges of growth. The update identifies an additional $1.9 billion of transport investment will be needed over the 10-year period.
“This is $1.1 billion less than the amount previously identified by Auckland Council. The total funding required for the decade is estimated to be $25.9 billion, of which $20 billion has already been committed to by central government ($13 billion) & Auckland Council ($7 billion).
“That leaves about $5.9 billion to be sourced from the Government, council & the private sector over the next 10-year period.”
Mr Bridges said the ATAP update report “identifies faster growth is now expected to occur in North & South Auckland, requiring some transport investment to be brought forward to support the housing development in these areas. We will also need to bring forward transport investment to accommodate additional public transport demand.”
He said key initiatives from the first-decade package that would be brought forward into the next 3 years with this extra funding included:
- Advancing development of the “next generation” of state highway projects, including the State Highway16- State Highway 18 interchange, Southern Motorway widening between Papakura & Drury, improved eastern airport access (State Highway 20B) and the North-western Busway
- Accelerating Auckland Transport’s programme, targeting high priority & well developed investments including the Mill Rd, Ameti (Aukland-Manukau eastern transport initiative) Eastern Busway & associated Reeves Rd flyover, the earlier purchase of new electric trains, along with earlier completion of key city centre bus lanes & interchanges
- Completing approximately $250 million of rail network infrastructure upgrades to cater for ongoing rapid growth in rail use and increasing freight volumes, including an additional track from Westfield to Wiri and a variety of key network resilience and performance upgrades.
“Current & committed investments include $3.4 billion for the City Rail Link, $1.85 billion for the East-West Link, and up to $1 billion in upgrades to the Northern & Southern motorway corridors.
“This is a very useful update of the agreed ATAP programme. I look forward to continuing to work with the mayor of Auckland on addressing the remaining funding required for the first decade.”
One major factor in the review is that Auckland’s population is projected to rise by 100,000 more over the next decade than the ATAP projections were based on last year.
Mr Goff said: “I particularly welcome the commitment of $1.2 billion in the first decade to mass transit on the isthmus, which I believe will be light rail.
“Busways in West & East Auckland and on the Northern Motorway will relieve traffic congestion by providing effective public transport alternatives.
“Penlink is also being considered as a tolled PPP (public-private partnership) road and new arterial routes are funded to service greenfields development.
“The increased budget & projects now go to the council & Government, and are expected to be formally agreed. Bridging the funding gap of $5.9 billion is now being negotiated between council & government.
“I welcome the Minister’s statement that Government has enough headroom in its budget to make a larger contribution to funding Auckland’s transport infrastructure.
“The hundreds of extra cars being added to Auckland’s roads each week, paying more petrol taxes & road user charges, will help fund the new projects.
“Auckland has to meet its fair share of the cost and we are considering the best options for how we do that.
“Road pricing, such as congestion charging, tolls or a fuel tax, in my view better reflect costs falling where there are benefits to the users of transport infrastructure than general rates. We are also exploring other options including targeted rates & value uplift.”
ATAP update, 11 August 2017: Auckland transport alignment project – update to reflect faster growth August 2017.pdf (pdf 804.72 KB)
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Attribution: Mayoral & ministerial release.