Journey to inner city rail reaches destination
The City Rail Link is to go ahead with government backing.
Prime Minister John Key has said the government had become more comfortable with the notion of the link.
Mayor Len Brown says the development represents a major step forward for the city.
‘‘I am delighted the government has agreed to support this project,’’ he says.
The project would require central government to put up half the funding, which it has so far been reluctant to commit to.
It rejected a business case on the project in 2010 and last year asked for a revised business case to be put forward at a cost of $1.7m.
In April the Green Party launched a campaign for the rail link, accusing the Government of standing in the way of Auckland’s progress.
‘‘The business case for the rail link is overwhelming,’’ party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter says.
‘‘It will create jobs, increase productivity and free up the motorways. It is a much better spend than the Government’s proposed motorway expenditure.’’
The City Rail Link will allow trains to pass through Britomart without having to reverse out as they have to now.
The route will pass through three downtown stations – Aotea, Karangahape and Newton – making its way through Albert St, across Karangahape Rd to upper Symonds St and linking to the Western and the Southern lines.
It would be built in two 3.5 kilometre long twin tunnels up to 45 metres below the city.
Mr Brown says along with the electrification of rail the link will be the biggest advance in Auckland transport Bridge.
‘‘Building the CRL is my number one priority as mayor. It will be a vital piece of infrastructure for Auckland’s economy, and will enable us to better meet the challenges of a growing city.’’
He says much of the preparatory work is already underway including protecting and preparing the route, electrification of the rail network and the purchase of new electric trains.
‘‘We now need to focus on working closely with the government to agree the exact timing and to keep
Harbour the project moving forward pace.’’
Councillor Cameron Brewer says the cost of the project now needs to be cemented.
‘‘The Government probably needs to lock down its contribution in dollar terms, as the project costs have reportedly gone up six fold in the past eight years,’’ he says.
‘‘We’ve got to make sure the costs don’t keep running away for the likes of taxpayers and Aucklanders.’’