Onehunga station plans face funding uncertainty
The tracks are laid and ready to go, but Onehunga residents may be left out in the cold to wait for the train.
Work upgrading the Onehunga branch line has almost finished but funding for the area’s station has become uncertain.
The station was originally to be funded by a regional fuel tax, but the tax has now been scrapped by the government.
Labour list MP Carol Beaumont says she has been left questioning the government’s priorities.
“There was a funding agreement when the regional fuel tax was in place but now that is gone, it is up in the air,” she says.
The Onehunga branch line was re-commissioned last year under the Labour government.
Ms Beaumont now wants to give Onehunga residents certainty that the railway station will be funded, but says the government’s response has been vague.
“The government’s plan to can the regional fuel tax leaves a question mark over how the stations on the Onehunga line, as well as other vital transport infrastructure, will now be funded,” she says.
“We have not been assured by Transport Minister Steven Joyce and it was suggested maybe the New Zealand Transport Agency or Auckland Regional Council could fund it.”
Ontrack spokeswoman Jenni Austin says the work on the line is close to completion and it is waiting on the Auckland Regional Transport Agency to complete the stations.
ARTA spokeswoman Sharon Hunter says land has been purchased by the regional council specifically for a station.
“The next step is to go out and talk to the community. We have been talking with KiwiRail and the government.”
The site is at 109-113 Onehunga Mall, with boundaries at Princes St to the north, Neilson St to the south.
Ms Beaumont says she doesn’t want funding for the station to fall over at the 11th hour.
She believes weighting has been given to roading and money intended for public transport will now go to road projects.
“It seems clear the government’s priorities do not lie with public transport. The government is keeping it unclear and I am seeking a clear commitment.”
Maungakiekie National MP Peseta Sam Lotu-liga says there are unresolved issues about where a station would be positioned.
However, the Regional Sustainable Development Forum says the preferred locations for a station have now been established with work progressing on the detailed design.
“I will do my best to ensure the case is presented for the upgrade to go ahead,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.