Auck­land’s CRL might cost $3.4b

Central Leader - - MILESTONES - AMANDA SAXTON

The price tag on Auck­land’s City Rail Link has bal­looned to as much as $3.4 bil­lion, up from ear­lier es­ti­mates of about $2.5b.

The Gov­ern­ment and Auck­land Coun­cil on Wed­nes­day signed a Heads of Agree­ment, un­der which the Crown will fund 50 per cent of the CRL.

The to­tal cost of the project is es­ti­mated to be be­tween $2.8b and $3.4b, As­so­ciate Fi­nance Min­is­ter Steven Joyce and Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges said. Ear­lier es­ti­mates had put the cost at about $2.5b, although back­ers had said they ex­pected that fig­ure to rise.

Joyce said Wed­nes­day’s agree­ment set out in-prin­ci­ple com­mit­ments from the Gov­ern­ment and coun­cil, and con­tained broader fund­ing, gov­er­nance and risk man­age­ment ar­range­ments. A more de­tailed ‘‘spon­sors’ agree­ment’’ would be de­vel­oped in com­ing months, after which the Gov­ern­ment would start to make fund­ing avail­able – which may be as early as 2017.

The 3.4km un­der­ground train line will run from Brit­o­mart sta­tion to con­nect with the ex­ist­ing western line at Mt Eden sta­tion. Bridges said the CRL would dou­ble the ca­pac­ity of the metro rail net­work and pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant travel time sav­ings for com­muters.

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