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Factsheet: Light Rail for Auckland

The Issue

Traffic in Auckland is getting slower and slower. The congestion on our roads is holding back our growth. It is time to invest in Auckland’s infrastructure.

National has failed to invest in transport in Auckland, dragging its heels for years on the City Rail Link and cutting $58m, 8%, in real terms, from spending on new and improved transport infrastructure in the Auckland region in 2015 compared to 2010.

Public transport is also stretched with patronage up by a quarter since 2013. Auckland Transport has stated:

“Key arterials with major bus routes are already near capacity and will be significantly over capacity in the future, even with the CRL and surface bus improvements. If not addressed now, there will be area-specific problems, including the impact of a high number of buses on urban amenity in the medium term, and acute issues on key corridors in the longer term.”

Labour will:

  • Improve transport and reduce congestion by committing funding for half the cost of the light rail line from Mt Roskill to the CBD.
  • Work with Auckland Council to begin construction as soon as possible.

Labour will get Auckland moving by investing in infrastructure to cut congestion. Our first commitment is to build a light rail line from Mt Roskill to the CBD. This will eventually form the basis for a light rail network.

The 13km line will run from Wynyard Quarter to Britomart, along Queen St to Dominion Rd, and end in Mt Roskill. Potential patronage is very high by international standards; 29,000 people live within 500m of the planned stops and 48,000 jobs are located within the same distances.

The line will intersect with the bus and heavy rail networks at several stops. This line will create the option for either light or heavy rail to be used for an eventual connection to Auckland airport, dependent on further investigations of the optimal route.

The area around Mt Roskill is referred to as ‘the void’ by Auckland Transport because it lacks access to the city’s existing mass transit network. Auckland Transport has concluded that light rail offers the best benefit to cost ratio, compared to heavy rail and bus rapid transport, to improve transport in the suburbs of the isthmus. Its business case found that existing transport is already at capacity and light rail is needed as soon as possible.

Auckland Council had included the light rail line as part of its 2016-2026 10 year plan. The Government’s Auckland Transport Alignment Plan has pushed it back to after 2028 despite acknowledging that passenger demand requires it within the coming decade. Labour is keen to begin work on the light rail line as soon as possible and will work with Auckland Council to make funding this project a priority within ten years.

Half of the cost of the light rail line will be met by central government. This is estimated at $680m and will be met from unallocated funds in future years of the National Land Transport Programme without the need for additional revenue. The other half of the cost will be met by Auckland Council.