CBD rail loop to start construction in 2020

June 26th, 2013 at 2:22 pm by David Farrar

John Key has confirmed the Government will make a contribution to the Auckland CBD loop, with construction starting in 2020.

The details will be released on Friday, and it seems there will be some other announcements also. What will be of interest is how much the Government is contributing.

I first blogged on the CBD rail loop in 2009, and commented:

The key thing is, it is not a choice between improving roads and . They are not substitutes, but complementary.

Labour and Greens have been trying to say that it is one or the other – that one must cancel the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway extension to fund the rail loop.

I also noted at the time:

If it can be done for that much money, the economic argument really stacks up.

But the cost has grown from that initial $1.5 billion.

In 2010 I blogged:

I think it is the most sensible of the proposed rail projects for Auckland.

And said:

Let’s assume ratepayers will pay 3/4. Work out how much that is, and consult Aucklanders on whether they are happy with that investment. Then you can talk to the Government about its contribution.

The details of the cost split is critical. I have said people outside Auckland should not be significantly funding the Auckland rail loop. However if the Govt’s contribution can be funded from the approx Auckland share of the National Land Transport Fund (ie through petrol tax paid by Aucklanders), then that is fine with me.

I suspect that is why the start date is 2020. Up until 2020 the NLTF is funding the various road of national significance, and as they get completed, my guess is the will be the next priority.

Incidentally as far as I know, the Government has never refused to fund the CBD rail loop. They have always been careful with their language, saying there is not currently enough money in the NLTF for it. Unless I have missed something, they have never said never (to paraphrase James Bond).

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43 Responses to “CBD rail loop to start construction in 2020”

  1. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    Build the tunnel, but instead of laying rail why not lay road and run buses?
    IIRC there was a report(s) about Auckland that said buses were a more efficient use of capital than rail. That, plus they are more versatile.

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  2. slijmbal (1,210 comments) says:

    Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

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  3. campit (460 comments) says:

    In the interests of an informed debate, can I ask that Kiwibloggers please read this primer on what the CRL is, and the rationale for it.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/city-rail-link/

    And this from Auckland Transport:

    http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/improving-transport/city-rail-link/Pages/crl-benefits.aspx

    [DPF: Ta. The map at the first link is very useful]

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  4. Redbaiter (7,564 comments) says:

    Man this country is just so hopelessly controlled by the left.

    Here’s what will happen with the rail project.

    1) The cost will blow out by about 300%. (if we’re lucky, possibly even more) Ratepayers and taxpayers will be saddled with this increase.

    2) Nobody will use the system when its completed.

    3) It will run at a massive loss that ratepayers and taxpayers will have to cover.

    This is just a costly white elephant that like most socialist ideas will only help in sending the country broke. Why can’t John Key see this???

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  5. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    1) Yes it probably will.

    2) No. Don’t be an idiot, in any city that has a decent PT system, people use it.

    3) Maybe. Sitting in a traffic jam costs something too.

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  6. Cunningham (811 comments) says:

    Seems like an enormous amount of money for a pretty small amount of rail. Is it actually value for money? Doesn’t seem like it but I don’t live in Auckland so can’t really comment. Anyway it takes the wind out of the sails (which are already full of holes) on the left on that issue as well so that is a good thing.

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  7. Redbaiter (7,564 comments) says:

    As for Campit pleading with us to read the words of the “experts”, we have seen what good they are by observing what has happened with recent tollway tunnels built in Queensland. All filing for bankruptcy soon after they opened because the so called “experts” had it completely and hopelessly wrong.

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  8. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Auckland’s roads actually flow far better now than even just 5 years ago. The choak points are getting fewer. I can get to the North Shore from Papakura in 30 mins on average of an evening.

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  9. Matt L (6 comments) says:

    David the cost may have grown in recent years from $1.5b to $2.4b ($2.86 includes future inflation) but that is largely due to extra risk costs being added. The cost will come back down to about $1.5b once the engineering work is done. As a comparison the Waterview tunnels were originally quoted at ~$1.4b for two lane tunnels. The cost then blew out to $3b when it went through a similar stage and then came back down. It is now being built for $1.4b and with three lane tunnels.

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  10. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    Red – tollway tunnels have never made money in Australia. The Sydney tunnels did exactly the same thing 10-15 years ago. The difference is that the Aussie tunnels were privately funded – basically the state government got infrastructure that it wanted, without taking any of the risk or spending any of the money. The risks are obviously large, given that they all failed. The downside is that no private investors are going to go near a tunnel project for a long time.

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  11. KiwiGreg (3,170 comments) says:

    Fuck. National aren’t even trying any more (apart from trying to get re-elected). I never thought they’d be this venal.

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  12. James Stephenson (2,018 comments) says:

    Running trains at a higher frequency seems like a good idea, the main reason I don’t use the train at the moment is that I want to be able ot rock up to the station at any time and know that I won’t wait for than 15 minutes. Make an appointment to catch the one train an hour? Fuck off.

    Having said that, how much of the bill is to put that “Aotea” station in? That’s only f-ing five minutes walk from Britomart or K Road, not that Len Brown will use it for more than the first photo opportunity…

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  13. Redbaiter (7,564 comments) says:

    Gazz- the real point is that the experts were wrong.

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  14. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    Red, the experts were asked to come up with a business case so people would invest in the tunnels, not to accurately predict traffic flow.

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  15. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    It’s a bit more than a 5 minute walk James.

    No-one is going to walk from the middle of town way the hell up to K road to catch a train home each day, I think they are correct there needs to be a station halfway up the CBD like that if they want it to be used.

    And are your work days really so haphazard that you can’t arrange to be at the station at the end of the day at the right time to catch a half-hourly train??

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  16. James Stephenson (2,018 comments) says:

    @RRM – Slight exaggeration for effect, it’s certainly a lot shorter walk than vast numbers of London commuters make from their tube stations everyday.

    I don’t work in the CBD, so I’m only a potential weekend customer, but looking at using the train to get to Eden Park is just a non-starter with one train an hour and bugger sense in the timetables for Newmarket to work as the interchange it should be.

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  17. s.russell (1,560 comments) says:

    Last time I was in Auckland I had to drive at about 5pm on a weekday from Quay St up Hobson St to get onto the motorway south. Six blocks. One hour. INSANE! I cannot imagine how Aucklanders put up with this.

    It seems to me that the killer argument here is the demographic projection. If Auckland really does add 1 million people in the next 30 years it will become impossible to move within the city. So even if the cost/benefit ratio for this project is dodgy now, it won’t be in 10 years time. In which case the sooner it is done the better.

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  18. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    The public transport sales pitch: the requirement to sit with people you don’t trust or like at a time you don’t want to travel in order to get to a place you don’t want to go to taking an inordinate length of time with considerable unreliability.

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  19. flipper (3,544 comments) says:

    So long as Auckland Ratepayers are prepared to meet their proper share of the cost, and NOT load those costs indirectly on to goods and services produced in their rate-paying area to the rest of N Z, I have no objection.

    But forget about all of Campit’s exhortations. He is arguing on behalf of vested interests.

    If the rail loop is really economic based upon real population (not postulated) growth, that is one thing. But unless the silly unitary plan is re-written to allow those 40,000 odd new houses (not apartments) over the next three years, they have not got a snowball’s chance of getting the growth needed to ensure viability..

    In the mean time all folks living outside of the Brown laager are suffering because of the failed, UK socialist planning dogma imbued and practised by the evil 20 (planners). How? 15% house price escalation in Akld, causing Reserve Bank plans to shift the burden of a solution to the whole of he country.

    Clearly the Auckland City endorsement of the Wellsford- Puhoi link is a straw in the wind. A quid pro quo? Still, let’s wait until we see the whole plan.

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  20. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    the requirement to sit with people you don’t trust or like at a time you don’t want to travel in order to get to a place you don’t want to go to taking an inordinate length of time with considerable unreliability.

    @Alan Wilkinson,

    You’ve just described the Labour caucus to a silent tee

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  21. CJPhoto (213 comments) says:

    How long before someone claims there is a SkyCity conspiracy here given the Aotea station will probably have a direct link to the gaming floor.

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  22. CJPhoto (213 comments) says:

    Would be interested in a post on the politics of this.

    They haven’t got anything in return (ie Greens support for another policy) so their polls obviously showed this is what Aucklanders want.

    By announcing now rather than election year, it sounds less like an election bribe and just puts a timeframe on a policy that they had never committed to, nor ruled out.

    Deferring by 5 years means their current RoNS can continue and puts the cost of the CRL most likely into a Labour/Greens Government.

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  23. Simon (681 comments) says:

    Comrades comrades it’s the Glorious City Rail Loop! National’s five year plan. Turnips for everyone!

    If there was an economic case for the loop the free market will build it. Except of course it will be nothing but an economic failure and lovely wankfest for the central planners.

    The very least those statist turds in the National could help fund the failure by issuing City Rail Loop bonds secured over the success or otherwise of the loop. That way all the peak oil true believers could buy Fail Rail bonds ahead of expecting everyone else to compulsory fund their collectivist wet dream.

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  24. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Interesting speculation:

    Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

    What’s the betting John Key announces an asset sale on Friday to fund Auckland rail link? An airline for a railway, say?

    Or a power company. It would be interesting to see the reaction to that.

    And electric trains need a secure supply of power.

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  25. flipper (3,544 comments) says:

    THESE ARE TWO ASTUTE OIBSERVATIONS BY DPF:

    “…. The details of the cost split is critical. I have said people outside Auckland should not be significantly funding the Auckland rail loop. However if the Govt’s contribution can be funded from the approx Auckland share of the National Land Transport Fund (ie through petrol tax paid by Aucklanders), then that is fine with me.
    and
    ” …. I suspect that is why the start date is 2020. Up until 2020 the NLTF is funding the various roads of national significance, and as they get completed, my guess is the CBD rail loop will be the next priority.

    Incidentally as far as I know, the Government has never refused to fund the CBD rail loop. They have always been careful with their language, saying there is not currently enough money in the NLTF for it. Unless I have missed something, they have never said never (to paraphrase James Bond)…. ”

    There are at least two other points:

    1. J.Key swallowed a dead rat when he bought the Gore/Clark line on AGW/GHGs. But at least the ETS has now been all but regurgitated.

    2. National is NOT about to swallow another Labour dead rat in the form of the rail loop. What ever the final $ % split, putting the exercise out until 2020 means that, very likely, Labour and the red melons will swallow their own dead rat. Hoist with their own petard, no less. :)

    If on the other hand, and in the very unlikely event, the rail loop is proves financially viable, and in fact is a juicy fillet mignon, then guess who will claim, and get the credit. :)

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  26. Nostalgia-NZ (4,904 comments) says:

    About time.

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  27. slijmbal (1,210 comments) says:

    “Last time I was in Auckland I had to drive at about 5pm on a weekday from Quay St up Hobson St to get onto the motorway south. Six blocks. One hour. INSANE! I cannot imagine how Aucklanders put up with this.”

    That’s not the norm – but yes if it’s raining and dogs and someone does a bit of DIY panel beating then the Southern Motorway locks up – many people check the traffic cams and either work late or similar. However, the opposite is also true. If I leave from the Shore a little after 9 I am in central Auckland in about 15 minutes.

    I see the Shore who pay an inordinately large proportion of rates get nothing as usual. We still have the White Elephant of the Northern Expressway.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/city-rail-link/ – “City centre and city fringe employee numbers doubling to more than 200,000″ A key assumption but why? It’s the most expensive real estate and more and more organisations have been setting up in alternate locations such as Albany. Take this out and I wonder why we would need this.

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  28. hj (6,348 comments) says:

    50% to be funded by the taxpayer.
    This is a result of the governments population policy which is unopposed by Labour and the Greens. It represents a subsidy to developers but will divert investment from business other than one sector.

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  29. Colville (2,073 comments) says:

    A welcome forward thinking election bribe from the Nats.
    Its something that needed to be done so best they mark it on the calendar and take the credit.

    I have been trying to think of a major city (outside of South America) that I have visited and NOT used public transport and I cant think of one other than Auckland!

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  30. ex-golfer (146 comments) says:

    We would not have this issue if consecutive governments and the strong Railway Dept and rail worker unions had not scuppered the plans developed by the Auckland Rapid Transit Committee between 1968 – 1976.
    The scheme design as finalised in 1972 had a tight inner city underground ring, operating in one direction only. The existing suburban rail line routes were to be used with track duplication to avoid freight conflicts, with extensions to Hobsonville and Howick and two new lines; under the harbour to Whangaparaoa and south to the Airport.
    The station spacings were larger than the existing system and travel speeds would be much higher. Local opposition and obstruction within the elected Auckland Regional Council members continued, as there was from the Railways Department and rail Unions.
    The ruling Labour government showed little enthusiasm for the scheme and proposed a cheaper alternative in 1973.
    The OPEC oil price shock and the 1975 election of the Robert Muldoon lead National government was the end of the scheme – supposedly due to price.
    It would be interesting to compare the cost proposed then in current $ to the “new” scheme now being promoted.

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  31. itstricky (1,543 comments) says:

    James I think you will find they put on extra trains for any major sporting event. Or any major event for that matter.

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  32. Grendel (950 comments) says:

    oh dear, the melons are trying to claim credit for this as apparently they have ‘forced the govt to listen’, and also claiming its a Uturn from the govt (as opposed to changing your mind about printing money).

    then you have their loony supporters who are now claiming that this means the govt should cancel funding more roads. do they think this train will go to their front door?

    the greens are being quiet when asked what they think about the fact that it will be funded by asset floats. dickheads.

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  33. ex-golfer (146 comments) says:

    @ Grendel
    It never ceases to amaze me that when the Government make a pragmatic decision on something that was previously semi-promoted by the complaining opposition, they, the opposition still feel the need to complain again!
    Maybe one day someone will say – “well, congratulations, we’re pleased you’ve come to this decision”.

    Instead its complain your are not getting what you want – then complain more when you DO get what you want.

    Dickheads.

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  34. slijmbal (1,210 comments) says:

    As Auckland probably pays about 40% of the tax in NZ this means Auckland really pays 70% of the cost not 50%

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  35. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    3 Mayor campains by 2020, nats are betting on a right winger mayor that will agree to veto the link

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  36. hj (6,348 comments) says:

    slijmbal (1,013) Says:
    June 26th, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    As Auckland probably pays about 40% of the tax in NZ this means Auckland really pays 70% of the cost not 50%
    ……………….
    What about the sucking vampire squid theory (sucks resources and grows on population growth)?

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  37. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    ‘ sucking vampire squid theory’

    OK, I’m interested in this theory. please elaborate. hj.

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  38. Reid (15,921 comments) says:

    This is just a costly white elephant that like most socialist ideas will only help in sending the country broke. Why can’t John Key see this???

    I can’t believe no-one has spotted it. The tell is in the 2020 timeframe. This shows they’re not serious about it. So why are they doing it? Well duh. What’s happening 12 October 2013?

    This policy was one of loopy Len’s main vote gainers in that it gave him publicity during the last election. It was a big story that differentiated him in the media’s eyes from Banks. Now Key and Brownlee have taken that away. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    That’s why they’re doing it.

    Crikey. You guys aren’t journos, are you? Just that your perspicacity is about what theirs is and I thought it wasn’t possible to sink that low in other segments of the population. But apparently, I was wrong.

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  39. swan (659 comments) says:

    Why does DPFs post make me think of Winston working overtime at the ministry of truth?

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  40. geoff_184 (3 comments) says:

    The government mentioned today that their contribution won’t come from the NLTF, but rather from asset sales. So the roading budget will remain unaffected.

    Expect a new motorway project to be announced on Friday, and also a change to who is responsible for what.

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  41. Simon (681 comments) says:

    Can’t make an economic case for the rail loop instead all that is left is authoritarianism.

    You will conform. Conform!

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  42. OneTrack (2,583 comments) says:

    And why does Len still not catch the train himself. Is it just for other people?

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  43. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    2020..what a joke. If there hadn’t been so much govt waste from the Nat/Labs this loop would have been up decades ago. Along with transmission gully

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