Dear Jacinda . . .

Auck­land’s Mayor has revealed his pri­or­i­ties for projects from the Govern­ment’s in­fra­struc­ture fund. Tom Dil­lane looks at what may be in the pipe­line

Weekend Herald - - News -

Auck­land Mayor Phil Goff has writ­ten a let­ter to the Prime Min­is­ter with his wish­list for $12b in in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing. Find out what he wants.

Auck­land Mayor Phil Goff has dis­closed the “sen­si­ble wish list” he sent to the Prime Min­is­ter ad­vis­ing how he’d like the Govern­ment’s $12 bil­lion in­fra­struc­ture fund spent on Auck­land.

In De­cem­ber, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Grant Robert­son an­nounced the Govern­ment will spend an ex­tra $12 bil­lion on in­fra­struc­ture, split across new road­ing, rail, schools and health­care projects.

Spe­cific “shovel-ready” projects will take $8 bil­lion of this, with a fur­ther $4 bil­lion on hand for fu­ture spend­ing.

How­ever, as yet, Robert­son has only out­lined broad al­lo­ca­tions of the $8b “shovel-ready” funds: $6.8b trans­port, $400m on schools, $300m for re­gional in­vest­ment, $300m for DHBs, $200m for pub­lic es­tate de­car­bon­i­sa­tion

Announceme­nts on spe­cific projects to be funded are ex­pected this month.

Goff says he has spo­ken to the Fi­nance Min­is­ter three times re­gard­ing Auck­land’s al­lo­ca­tion of the $12 bil­lion, and has been told he “won’t be dis­ap­pointed”.

“We’ve given them a smor­gas­bord of projects and we know they won’t all be done,” Goff says.

“But we want to make sure we get our fair pro­por­tion­ate share, given Auck­land is tak­ing nearly half of all the pop­u­la­tion growth in this coun­try over the next decade,”

Here are the priority projects Goff out­lined in a let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern:

These projects are al­ready out­lined in the 2018-28 Auck­land Trans­port Align­ment Plan (ATAP). Goff wants the $12b to bring their de­liv­ery date for­ward:

Third main heavy rail trunk line from Quay St/Brit­o­mart sta­tion to Wiri Sta­tion (to cost $172m and ex­pected to be fin­ished by 2023), plus elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of Pa­pakura to Pukekohe line ($232m by 2024) (Fig 1)

Auck­land city’s south­ern heavy rail line cur­rently only has two tracks shared be­tween pas­sen­ger trains and freight trains from the Ports of Auck­land trav­el­ling to the port’s ware­house in Wiri. A third line would free up pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity.

“We’ve had a huge in­crease in pas­sen­ger trips to over 22 mil­lion a year on rail and at the same time quite a lot of freight trav­el­ling by rail,” Goff tells the Week­end Herald.

The elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the south­ern Pa­pakura to Pukekohe stretch of rail, which is cur­rently diesel, will pro­vide a seam­less ser­vice from Pukekohe to the city cen­tre, re­mov­ing the need for a train changeover. It will also re­move the last of Auck­land’s diesel pas­sen­ger trains.

Grade sep­a­ra­tion of Auck­land’s train lines from street level cross­ings ($239m by 2028) (Fig 2)

The in­creas­ing fre­quency of Auck­land pas­sen­ger trains means there is now one ev­ery 10 min­utes across the net­work. And this fre­quency will in­crease when the City Rail Link is op­er­a­tional.

Like many cities around the world, Auck­land has slated in the ATAP to re­move as many street-level rail cross­ings as pos­si­ble.

“We need to grade-sep­a­rate the rail cross­ings, and that’s un­be­liev­ably ex­pen­sive,” Goff said.

“You ei­ther put the road un­der­neath it or over the top of it. You won’t have the money to do ev­ery­where, but that is an­other op­tion for use of cap­i­tal.”

Com­plete shoul­der lanes and con­struct bus ter­mi­nals to cre­ate an “in­terim” North­West Busway de­ci­sions on pre­ferred op­tions early 2020, im­ple­men­ta­tion date uncer­tain (Fig 3)

The North­west­ern mo­tor­way from Te Atatu¯ to Massey has shoul­der lanes on the edges of its car lanes large enough to ac­com­mo­date buses. Yet buses aren’t yet al­lowed to use them.

In Novem­ber, Trans­port Min­is­ter and Te Atatu¯ MP Phil Twyford said the NZ Trans­port Agency was look­ing at build­ing ded­i­cated bus lanes on the shoul­der of the mo­tor­way with sta­tion in­ter­changes at Te Atatu¯ and West­gate.

Goff would like this con­firmed in the $12 bil­lion.

“We’re al­ways keen on get­ting a bus to our North­West, even if it’s a tem­po­rary mea­sure such as shoul­der busways be­fore we’ve got a rapid pub­lic tran­sit there such as light rail,” he says.

Bring for­ward Govern­ment road­ing pri­or­i­ties for Auck­land: Mill Rd Cor­ri­dor ($507m spent over 2023-28) and Pen­link ($200m spent over 2024-28) (Fig 4)

The Mill Rd Cor­ri­dor project is a fourlane up­grade of Re­doubt Rd lead­ing into Mill Rd which shoots off from State High­way 1 in Manukau through to Drury.

Safety up­grades to the Re­doubt Rd/Mill Rd stretch will also ad­dress 25 per cent of the Auck­land re­gion’s high-risk in­ter­sec­tions.

“The up­grade of Mill Rd right through to Drury is crit­i­cal as an al­ter­na­tive to State High­way 1,” Goff says.

“Drury is the sin­gle big­gest green­field hous­ing de­vel­op­ment that we’ll see in Auck­land. They’ll be an­other 23,000 houses go­ing in there.”

Goff also wants the de­liv­ery of Pen­link to be brought for­ward, con­nect­ing the Whanga­para¯oa Penin­sula with State High­way 1. Con­struc­tion of Pen­link is still sched­uled for later in the next decade.

“That’s an area where we al­ready own most of the land and the con­sent­ing process is straight­for­ward and much of it done al­ready,” Goff says.

The fol­low­ing two projects are not part of ATAP. Goff says he “threw in as much in hope as in ex­pec­ta­tion”:

● Bring for­ward the 2025 dead­line to fully elec­trify Auck­land’s bus fleet Auck­land Trans­port is com­mit­ted to ex­clu­sively pur­chas­ing elec­tric buses by 2025. Un­til then the city will still be com­ple­ment­ing the pur­chase of some new elec­tric buses with new diesel buses. Un­for­tu­nately, elec­tric buses cost dou­ble the price of a diesel bus.

“If the Govern­ment were to ex­tend the free­bate they were propos­ing to in­cen­tivise elec­tric cars, to also in­cen­tivise elec­tric buses ear­lier than

2025, that would be wel­come,” Goff says.

“Maybe that won’t meet the Govern­ment’s cri­te­ria [for the $12b fund] of im­pact­ing on the econ­omy by cre­at­ing jobs.

“But it will meet their cri­te­ria in terms of tack­ling our car­bon-emit­ting prob­lems. Forty-six per cent of Auck­land’s emis­sions are from road trans­port.”

● New on­shore New Zealand re­cy­cling pro­cess­ing plants

The mayor says two new on­shore re­cy­cling plants — one for pa­per, one plas­tic — are “ur­gently needed”, some­where in New Zealand

He says fol­low­ing China’s “Na­tional Sword” pol­icy en­acted in Jan­uary 2018, ban­ning the im­port of most plas­tics and other ma­te­ri­als to be re­cy­cled in their coun­try, New Zealand has just started send­ing its re­cy­cling to In­done­sia and Malaysia.

“We as a coun­try badly need to re­pro­cess our re­cy­cling on­shore. We are send­ing thou­sands of tons of re­cy­cling off­shore.

“To get the econ­omy of scale you prob­a­bly won’t have more than one re­pro­cess­ing plant for plas­tic, one re­pro­cess­ing plant for pa­per.

“It doesn’t have to be near Auck­land but we’re a third of the coun­try, so that’s a third of the re­cy­cling that doesn’t have to be trans­ported too far.”

Other projects in Goff ’s let­ter

● In­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment to ad­vance the Auck­land Hous­ing Pro­gramme

● In­fra­struc­ture to sup­port hous­ing and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment in Auck­land’s south (eg Drury) and al­le­vi­ate pres­sure on strate­gic trans­port cor­ri­dors

● Po­ten­tial elet­ric­fi­ca­tion of fer­ries, to re­duce car­bon emis­sions, and match in­cen­tives to pro­mote elec­tric car pur­chases

● Im­prove­ments to the North­ern Busway — shoul­der run­ning busway from Albany to Sil­verdale on SH1

● Bring for­ward walk­ing and cycling in­fra­struc­ture to al­le­vi­ate con­ges­tion and ad­dress car­bon emis­sions.

Photo / Ja­son Ox­en­ham

Auck­land mayor Phil Goff with Con­struc­tion Man­ager Ja­son Gi­a­co­pazzi, at the Water­care Cen­tral In­ter­cep­tor site in Man­gere.

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