Airport to be connected by light rail
Urgent action is needed to improve mass transit to Auckland International Airport, including the introduction of light rail from the city centre, Auckland Transport says.
On Friday NZTA and Auckland Council controlled organisation Auckland Transport (AT) said there would be a staged transition from bus to light rail transit from the airport to the city centre.
Dominion Rd was confirmed as the preferred route.
Auckland Council did not say when the transition would begin.
The timing for the transition would be based on demand, capacity and funding.
The announcement comes after NZTA announced in June last year that heavy rail from the airport to central city was off the cards because it was too expensive and difficult.
In September AT estimated light rail would cost about $1 billion compared to $2.2 billion for heavy rail.
In December Labour Transport spokeswoman Sue Moroney said traffic to and from Auckland Airport was like travelling in a third world country.
In 2014 the airport revealed an ‘‘airport of the future’’ 30-year vision, which includes connecting the domestic terminal to the international terminal, construction of a second runway by 2025 and building infrastructure to accommodate rail transport.
Before making the transition to light rail short-term changes could include higher capacity buses and a dedicated bus mass transit right of way, NZTA said.
AT chief executive David Warburton said the parties involved were in agreement that urgent action needed to be taken.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff ‘‘welcomed’’ government and council agreement on the need for light rail from the airport to city.
‘‘This is the first time there’s been an explicit agreement,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re getting nearly 18 million passenger arrivals a year at Auckland Airport, so a mass transit alternative to the growing gridlock is absolutely critical.’’
Goff said what will trigger the need to move from buses to light rail will be set out in a report due later this year.
Transport blog’s Matt Lowrie said he worried the light rail would come too late.
‘‘We need this and other routes built and built sooner than currently planned,’’ Lowrie said.
There is currently no rail transport to Auckland International Airport.