4 July target for Tranz Rail settlement
Auckland City Council has a “rapid transit update” which has appeared frequently this year. The latest issue, compiled by Bryan Patchett, sets out the new timetable for the regional takeover of rail corridors from Tranz Rail, and progress towards getting a Queen St station.
Auckland councils have agreed to opt for the $112 million version of dealing with Tranz Rail instead of the $65 million version, although all have put conditions on their acceptance.
Neither version has an accurate count of the cost of taking over the regional rail network according to Rodney District’s commissioner, Grant Kirby, who has fought for continued access into Northland for freight lines.
Mr Kirby tallied up a “real cost” last month of $340 million on top of the cost of access rights, which he didn’t put a figure on but which he said should be much lower than the figures promoted so far.
In Mr Kirby’s view, these items should be included in the tally as capital costs arising from the takeover and its operation: $25 million to double-track the western line, $25 million to connect rail to Manukau City Centre, $80 million to build the Queen St station and connect, $130 million to build the North Shore busway, $30 million to improve park & ride facilities at stations, and $50 million to buy replacement engines to maintain the rail passenger service.
For the heads of agreement between Tranz Rail and the region’s councils to continue, this timeline has been set:
15 February, support in principle from the Government
31 March, positive decisions in principle on funding
21 June, completion of legal documentation and due diligence on the North Island main trunk line.
2 July, payment to Tranz Rail
4 July, settlement of the heads of agreement.Transfund is expected to make a decision in
principle on 15 February and confirm its decision in May as part of the national roading programme for the 2001-02 year.
A formal application for funds will go to Infrastructure Auckland in February for consideration in March/April.
The Auckland Regional Council has granted the Auckland City Council the resource consents needed to start the proposed Queen St underground station. These were for dewatering and sediment control. Demolition of surplus buildings should start early in the new year and construction mid-2001.
The regional rail business will be run by a local authority trading enterprise (Late), and the opening for directors of this business has brought out more than 70 applicants. Successful applicants will be named early in 2001.