Missing link in airport rail plan
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.