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NZD11.6bn underground light rail route preferred for Auckland

On 29 October the Auckland Light Rail Team released the recommendations that will be considered by the New Zealand Government later this year for a future mass transit system.

On 29 October the Auckland Light Rail Team released the recommendations that will be considered by the New Zealand Government later this year for a future mass transit system.

The business case concludes that light rail between the city centre, the airport and the Māngere area (CC2M), where 30 000-35 000 new homes are to be built, is a necessary investment to facilitate sustainable growth. If approved by the Government, design work could start in early 2022.

The report rejects the so-called Trackless Tram offered by CRRC as unproven technology for a high-demand corridor.

The CC2M corridor currently includes 60 000 homes and 169 000 jobs; this is forecast to rise by 10-13% by 2051. Three options were shortlisted in the latest report: light rail (estimated cost NZD8bn/EUR3.9bn), light metro (NZD14bn/EUR8.6bn) and tunnelled light rail (NZD11.6bn/EUR7.1bn). Although light metro offers the best cost-benefit ratio, the report suggests that light rail with tunnels from the Wynyard Quarter to Mount Roskill is the best solution, with the balance of the route running on the surface.

This would include 18 stops (underground in the city centre) and offer a projected journey time of 43 minutes with 26 400 peak journeys at full capacity.

Further analysis is proposed to determine the preferred funding and financing solution.