Support for CBD Rail link strong and growing

There’s a poll on the Herald site asking if you think the Government should contribute to the CBD Rail tunnel. At nearly 15,000 votes, the vast majority (77%) say yes. Given that the Herald readership and online poll results tend towards conservative and business-oriented, there’s no reason to think that the popular support for this project is the result of some fiscally irresponsible rail-enthusiast pipe dream.

Rudman had an excellent column yesterday on Minister of Transport Joyce’s ideological attitude to planning and rail — of course what Joyce and many others don’t realise is that sprawl and car dependence is the result of town planning rules, facilitated by motorway building. It’s not a free market, and it’s definitely not economically efficient. We can choose to do things differently by changing our planning rules, and it will result in more and better choices for people. But we also need to change our transport funding so that we can accommodate the growing demand for walking, cycling, and public transport.

One thing the last 2 years has shown is that this Government will make u-turns if the public is loud enough. We need to demand this rail project take precedence over the Puhoi to Wellsford and Waikato Expressway now. It’s not too late. Make you voice heard, sign and share our petition to fast track the CBD Rail loop, and watch this space for upcoming events related to this campaign.

12 thoughts on “Support for CBD Rail link strong and growing

  1. Given that the Herald readership and online poll results tend towards conservative and business-oriented,

    I’d genuinely be interested to know where that came from – data or anecdotal?

    Anyhoo, might the survey respondents also be Aucklanders keen for the rest of NZ to pay for their loop?

  2. The first step is to remove minimum parking requirements and residential zoning building height limitations… Then Joyce might have a case that people “like” living in exurbs and aren’t being forced to…

  3. ‘StephenR’

    Provincial snarkiness adds nothing of value to this discussion.

    Aucklanders were going to pay towards their own railway modernisation in the form of a regional petrol tax but the current government cancelled that plan and then failed to provide any adequate substitute.

    And (does this really need to be said yet again?) the citizens of Greater Auckland pay taxes to central government just like everybody else.

  4. I live in Wellington and I’m perfectly happy for my “non-Auckland” tax dollars to pay for this rail project.

  5. “It’s not a free market, and it’s definitely not economically efficient” well no, but then why even say this unless you want to implement a free market solution.

    Reform all planning based on private property rights including putting covenants in place for sightlines etc, sell the motorways, commercialise the local roads, allow commercial pricing of the lot, and suddenly you’ll find peak time car commuting will cost a lot more, and public transport (and active modes) a lot more viable.

    People choose to drive because roads are underpriced at peak times (and some at off peak times), but you wont know the efficient price until roads are managed in order to maximise revenue (which doesn’t come from stop-start traffic).

    Of course if roads were free flowing, buses would be too, would be significantly more competitive than they are now, and the case for building exhorbitantly expensive single use bespoke infrastructure (underground railway) would be even more feeble than it currently is.

    Frog, you should decide if you want strictly economic rational benefit/cost criteria applied to transport projects across the board (like you do for roads, quite rightly) or assumption laden wider economic benefits voodoo that would justify many roads as well as railways. Now you implicitly criticise government policy for not being free market oriented and efficient.

    Which approach do you want? Do you want it applied consistently across all modes and if not, why not?

  6. As Frank says:

    I live in Wellington and I’m perfectly happy for my “non-Auckland” tax dollars to pay for this rail project.

    BJ

  7. Frank and bjchip, you better be – our “non-Wellington” tax dollars have paid for seven decades of electrification and three generations of electric rolling stock.

  8. Aucklanders were going to pay towards their own railway modernisation in the form of a regional petrol tax but the current government cancelled that plan and then failed to provide any adequate substitute.

    Anyone know if the new council could levy such a tax?

  9. Liberty Scott — I know you’re a libertarian so you think private property rights are the solution to everything, but the transportation system is both a natural monopoly and a network. Trying to introduce private competition will reduce the network benefit effects and result in inefficiencies.

    But we can still recognise that people are price sensitive and use that to allocate public resources effectively. And while some planning rules and regulations are desirable and useful, we should get rid of the ones that undermine the goals the city and region has, like increasing housing affordability, reducing congestion and pollution, etc.

  10. The money from non Auckland tax dollars is already going to fund the weekend road out of Auckland – transferring the money to AK rail is painless.

  11. Julie, most transport in the world is run by private enterprise or at least on commercial grounds. It requires a bit of broad thinking to ask the questions as to why transport between cities is financially self sustaining, why freight transport within cities is financially self sustaining, but suddenly when it comes to urban transport the people who can most afford to pay for the transport infrastructure built to sustain their short periods of intense usage, get their trips subsidised in one form or another.

    Think of roads like electricity networks, and the vehicles on them like retail companies. Local roads may be natural monopolies (highways are not), railways certainly are not as they are always substitutable.

    However, I find it interesting (not your fault or obligation to respond) that there is no intelligent Green response to my key point. This is even setting aside the odd spectacle of the Greens damning the Nats because the government isn’t embracing the free market.

    The Green Party has, rightly in my view, been damning major road building when the projects themselves have net negative benefit/cost ratios.

    Yet it also fully embraces economic appraisal approaches that reject economic efficiency (and the Green party tried very hard to remove economic efficiency from the Land Transport Management Bill a few years ago).

    You can’t damn poor quality road projects based on strict BCR assessment, but then embrace poor quality rail projects which are only good because of so-called “wider economic benefits”(WEBs) – which are themselves an exercise in double counting and heavily laden assumptions. Such assumptions can ALSO be applied to roads.

    I suspect if the WEBs applied to the underground rail loop in Auckland were also applied to Puhoi-Wellsford and Waterview extension, both would be excellent projects.

    In short, it is rank hypocrisy to want two different appraisal methodologies, one for the mode you like and think can do no wrong, one for the one you hate and think needs to be contained as much as possible.

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