The Government has done a press release on its review of the CBD rail tunnel:
The review of the Business Case for the CBD Rail Link finds that the case for funding and building the rail link has not yet been made, and that the mix of options for meeting transport needs in the CBD have not been sufficiently explored.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce has today released the review which was conducted by the Ministry of Transport and the Treasury in conjunction with the NZ Transport Agency.
“In short, the review says more work needs to be done to determine the full future transport needs of central Auckland before proceeding with a project like the CBD Rail Link,” says Mr Joyce.
“However, the review suggests that in the meantime, it makes strategic sense for Auckland Council to move to protect the route, and I agree with that.”
Specifically, the review found:
• That the estimated construction costs for the CBD Rail Link are largely sound – at a total of $2.4 billion
• That the transport benefits of the project are estimated at $387 million rather than the $1,319 million assessed in the business case
• That the project would have only a modest impact on traffic volumes and likely remove up to 1,400 cars (2,000 people) of the estimated 29,000 cars (41,000 people) travelling into the CBD during the morning peak in 2041.
• That the wider economic benefits of the project as estimated in the business case ($3.3 billion) were very significantly over-stated and were in fact more like $305 million – which was still high relative to the transport benefits when compared with similar large international transport projects
• That the re-calculated BCR consistent with the NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual used for roading projects was 0.3; with the additional wider economic benefits taking it to 0.4
The review suggested that the following steps could be taken by Auckland Council to improve the future case for development of the CBD Rail Link:
• Finalisation and implementation of the Auckland spatial plan and City Centre Masterplan to establish achievable growth projections for the CBD and to quantify where the growth projected for the CBD will occur
• Development of a robust multi-modal plan for future transport into the CBD, which includes a thorough analysis of all the alternatives
• Begin implementation of large scale residential developments along the rail corridors to capitalise on the current upgrade and electrification.
• Implement additional park and ride sites and bus feeder services to drive further increases in public transport demand
The review noted that, late in the process, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport provided a new alternative policy case which provided a range of new assumptions and policy considerations to the previous business case.
Mr Joyce says officials did not assess the new policy case provided as there was insufficient time.
“It appears to contain some things that are specifically related to the CBD Rail Link, and some things that would improve transport in Auckland, regardless of any decision to build the CBD Rail Link.”
“I think the timing of the latest policy proposal underscores the need to go carefully through the spatial plan process and the various transport options; to make sure that together we make the right investments in future Auckland transport projects at the right time.
“In the meantime, we continue to invest $1.6 billion to electrify and modernise Auckland’s commuter rail network to provide for the next stage of growth in rail patronage. This Crown investment will help deliver a modern, fast and superior commuter rail experience from 2013/14.”
Hopefully we get to see the MoT’s report. It looks like the Government’s solution is 29,000 cars.
[Update] Full review here: http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/rail/AucklandCBDRailLinkBusinessCaseReview-main/