Transport Minister Steven Joyce has asked officials from the Ministry of Transport, the Treasury and the NZ Transport Agency to work with Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and other agencies to review the business case for a CBD rail link ahead of any further discussions between central government and Auckland Council next year.
The business case, released last month, provides a capital cost of $2.3 billion for the rail link in 2010 dollars.
Mr Joyce says the business case was a first step but it leaves a number of questions unanswered.
“It would be irresponsible for the government to even consider being involved with a project of this size without being confident about having the full facts.”
Mr Joyce says he wants a number of questions answered as part of the review, including:
- Does the business case include the full capital and operating costs needed to realise the project?
- How many additional passengers will the rail tunnel attract over the $1.6 billion electrified network we are currently building?
- What impact will the rail tunnel have on car travel and congestion?
- When will the tunnel be needed?
- How does the tunnel project relate to the growth and productivity of the CBD and Auckland more widely?
Mr Joyce has today spoken with Auckland Mayor Len Brown who has agreed that a formal assessment of the business case by central government agencies is a necessary step.
“The findings of this review will help us determine if, how and when to progress with the CBD rail link project and will give both central and local government the certainty needed,” says Mr Joyce.
I had thought most of these questions had been answered. I wonder if Auckland Council will have the guts to ask for a review of the business case for the Holiday Highway:
- How much is the toll, and what impact will this have on traffic volumes?
- What safety improvements will be made to the existing State Highway 1
- How does the CBT’s Operation Lifesaver alternative compare?