by Gareth Hughes
A preferred alignment for an underground rail loop to run through Auckland’s CBD was announced yesterday by ARTA. This is exciting news as it means this crucial project is coming one step closer to completion. You can see that there will be three stations, one near Aotea Square, Karangahape Road, and Symonds Street.
ARTA estimate that the Aotea Station and related intensification could generate another 40,000 jobs in this area. But I’m especially excited about the Symonds Street station. I believe there is a huge opportunity to build more quality intensive housing and commercial development around this area – transforming it into one of the most vibrant parts of central Auckland.
This is a really cool project for Auckland, it will be great for Auckland’s environment and the economy and we need to get it finished as soon as possible.
However, we can’t start it without the funding. And right now the Minister is stone walling in response to written questions in the House. He’s saying he can’t dedicate any funding to this project until (another) study of the business case for the CBD rail loop is completed at the end of 2010.
However, he’s already put over $100 million from the National Land Transport Fund into investigating the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway even though the NZTA’s initial study showed that motorway hasn’t got a strong economic case. In fact, with a Benefit to Cost Ratio of 0.8 they’re predicting it will lose the economy $280 million.
I’m going to fight to get the CBD rail loop finished as quickly as possible. I hope you’ll join me.