Miss­ing link in air­port rail plan

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY FITZGER­ALD

Pro­jected costs of an Auck­land Air­port light rail plan have been called into ques­tion.

Last month Auck­land Trans­port (AT) ruled out a com­muter rail link to the air­port in favour of a light rail op­tion. At a pub­lic meet­ing held on Au­gust 30 in One­hunga, Cam­paign for Bet­ter Trans­port (CBT) spokesper­son Graeme Easte called AT’s pro­jec­tion of costs un­re­al­is­tic.

The meet­ing’s fo­cus was on rapid tran­sit modes to the air­port hosted by vol­un­tary group CBT, con­vened by Cameron Pitches, and sought an­swers on whether AT’s light rail pro­posal stacks up. ‘‘Ac­cord­ing to AT [the] light rail op­tion is only go­ing to cost $1.168 bil­lion, but this ex­cludes $1.325 bil­lion which is the cost of get­ting from Queen Street to Mt Roskill,’’ Easte said. He asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on who is go­ing to pay for that miss­ing link. ’’Once you add it all up you get $2.5 bil­lion which is re­mark­ably close to the cost of heavy rail,’’ he said. From 2006 - 2010 CBT suc­cess­fully cam­paigned for the re­open­ing of the One­hunga branch line, tak­ing rail con­nec­tion to the air­port a step closer. ‘‘In the last 10 years progress has been slow. ARC and ARTA, now AT, stated their com­mit­ment to rail to the air­port but there have been no firm de­ci­sions,’’ Easte said.

The con­sen­sus of the meet­ing ac­cord­ing to Pitches, is that AT needs to re­visit its pro­posed pref­er­ence for light rail.

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