Auckland CBD rail link plan knocked back, more work required

Article – BusinessDesk

May 31 (BusinessDesk) – Auckland City Council Mayor Len Brown’s plan for a CBD rail link has been knocked back by central government officials, who conclude the benefits promised in the business case are vastly over-stated.

Auckland CBD rail link plan knocked back, more work required

May 31 (BusinessDesk) – Auckland City Council Mayor Len Brown’s plan for a CBD rail link has been knocked back by central government officials, who conclude the benefits promised in the business case are vastly over-stated.

The $2.4 billion project has been sent back for more work after the Ministry of Transport, NZ Transport Agency and the Treasury said it didn’t currently represent “an economically effective investment.” The officials haven’t closed the door, with Minister of Transport Steven Joyce saying he agrees to the city preserving the route until such time as the project could be built.

Total benefits from a CBD rail link, including wider economic benefits, were assessed at $735 million in the review, less than one sixth of the $4.7 billion claimed in the city council’s business case. Transport benefits alone were put at $387 million compared to the business case estimate of $1.3 billion.

“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,” Joyce said in a statement today.

The review “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,” he said.

The review concluded that the city council and Auckland Transport could help their case by providing evidence that investment in rail would drive rail patronage, residential intensification and the re-generation of the Auckland CBD.

The officials recommended the proposed route of the rail link be protected because the NZTA assessed the project as a “medium strategic fit” with its criterion and it would provide certainty for development along the route.

(BusinessDesk)

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