Friday, 8 December 2017

Labour's 2017 campaign transport policies [1] - Auckland Transport

Here are the detailed policy promises for transport made by the Labour Party in the 2017 election campaign.

Auckland Transport

Probably the best parts of this policy are:

  • Light rail from the CBD to the airport.
  • BRT from Howick to the airport
  • Increasing the electric train services etc
  • Increasing cross town bus services
Questionable aspects of the policy include:
  • Auckland Regional fuel tax. This should be called what it is - a rates increase by another name, since almost everyone depends on motor vehicles to move around the city at some point. In addition, economists have estimated the tax will cost everyone an average of $10 a week and that it will be a regressive tax affecting the poor. Congestion charging should be implemented instead.

Auckland’s population grew 14 per cent between 2008/09 and 2015/16, with a 16 per cent increase in state highway traffic volumes and a 35 per cent increase in public transport boardings in the region. Yet spending via the New Zealand Transport Agency on new and improved transport infrastructure in Auckland hasn’t increased.
Congestion has worsened dramatically in recent years and costs Auckland nearly $2b a year. Average speeds at peak times have fallen nearly 10km/h since 2014. Delaying projects that would reduce congestion is a false economy. The cost of doing nothing is too high for Aucklanders and for business.
It’s time to accelerate investment in Auckland transport.

Labour will:
  • Build light rail from the CBD to Auckland Airport. This will be part of a new light rail network that will be built over the next decade with routes to the central suburbs, the airport, and West Auckland, and will later be extended to the North Shore
  • Build a new Bus Rapid Transit line from Howick to the airport, starting with a bus service which will connect Puhinui and Manukau train stations to the airport in one year
  • Invest in more electric trains, electrification to Pukekohe, and building a third main trunk line urgently between Westfield and Papakura
  • Build a range of significant cross-town bus priority routes including New Lynn-Flat Bush, Point Chevalier-Botany, Silverdale-Whangaparaoa, and Howick-Glenfield
  • Allow Auckland Council to collect a regional fuel tax to fund the acceleration of these investments, along with infrastructure bonds and targeted rates to capture value uplift.

These projects will ease congestion, reducing wasted time and fuel costs. They will make our biggest city an even better place to live. Getting more people on to high-quality public transport will unclog our roads.
Rail to the airport is crucial for Auckland’s future growth. Waiting 30 years is simply not an option given the congestion that exists on the roads already. A world-class city in the 21st century needs a rail connection from its CBD to its airport.
This policy revises the Auckland Transport Alignment Plan and adds additional projects laid out in the Congestion Free Network plan. In total, there will be an extra $3.3b investment, comprising both new and accelerated projects over the next 20 years.
Light rail network and heavy rail improvements will be brought forward from the second and third decades into the first decade. Light rail to Mt Roskill will take four years to build, with the lines through to the airport and West Auckland completed within a decade. New bus improvement projects will also be carried out in the first decade. In the second decade, we will expand the light rail network to the North Shore.
Costs will be avoided by building the airport and North Western routes as light rail from the start, rather than initially doing bus improvements. Some lower-value projects will be delayed and the cost of the East-West Link will be reduced by adopting an option with a better benefit to cost ratio, saving $1.2b.
Labour will invest a net $2.1b extra in Auckland transport infrastructure. These increased investments and the existing funding gap in the ATAP will be met with new funding sources. A Regional Fuel Tax is forecast to raise $160m a year at 10 cents a litre. Labour will give Auckland Council the ability to use new methods of funding infrastructure, like infrastructure bonds and targeted rates.
Labour's Improvements to Auckland Transport Alignment Plan:
Projects accelerated to the next ten years: 
  • Light rail - CBD to Central Suburbs and airport
  • Light rail - CBD to West Auckland 
  • Bus Rapid Transit - Howick to the airport 
  • Third rail line - Westfield to Papakura 
  • Additional electric trains 
  • Better value for money East-West Link
New projects in the next ten years:
  • Bus priority route - New Lynn to Flat Bush 
  • Bus priority route - Point Chevalier to Botany 
  • Bus priority route - Silverdale to Whangaparaoa
  • Bus priority route - Howick to Glenfield
Projects accelerated to the second decade:
  • Light rail - CBD to North Shore 
  • Further rail improvements