In a press conference on 31 March, New Zealand Transport Minister Michael Wood announced the formation of a new ‘Establishment Unit’ to restart work on the business case for Auckland’s light rail project.
The multi-agency group has been given six months for stakeholder engagement; assessment of route options between the CBD and Auckland International Airport; exploration of potential costs and financing options; to investigate land value capture opportunities; and to recommend the best delivery entity for the scheme.
Mr Wood said: “There’s wide-ranging support for rapid transit but Aucklanders felt shut out of the project. Today I’m drawing a line under that and involving Aucklanders from the get-go.
“Without decisive investment, Auckland will choke on its own growth. There is a corridor of several hundred thousand people who currently don’t have access to reliable rapid transit through the central part of the city, which has some of the fastest-growing residential and jobs areas. Buses alone on this corridor won’t cope for much longer.
“Our vision for Auckland is to create a vibrant connected city that’s easier, cleaner and safer to get around – light rail will help make that happen. The city centre to Māngere line will be a backbone that eventually
will link with the north and north-west, forming a rapid transit network that fully integrates with other forms of transport across the city.”
The working group includes representatives from the Ministry of Transport, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, housing agency Kāinga Ora and Māori.