Council says yes to Sky Path

Stuff reports:

A walking and cycling path across Auckland’s Harbour Bridge is a step closer after city councillors voted unanimously to support a means of paying for it.

The politicians have agreed that the $33m SkyPath should be funded by a public-private partnership (PPP), with underwriting the project to an agreed level.

Despite a 5-hour debate at the council’s Finance and Performance Committee meeting on Wednesday, in the end councillors voted as one in favour of the PPP.

“It’s been wrung dry, but all the answers have been spat out every time,” he said. “The time has come.”

Councillor Mike Lee said SkyPath was “the City Rail Link for walking and cycling”, referring to the city’s long awaited $2.5 billion downtown rail project now underway.

However SkyPath still has significant hurdles to overcome.

Residents groups opposed to the project are taking it to the Environment Court, with hearings due to be held later this year.

Under the terms of the PPP a toll will be charged to use SkyPath, and the council will underwrite revenue from the toll up to an agreed level.

If tolls don’t meet forecasts the council will pay out, but if they exceed them the council will profit.

The group behind SkyPath, HRL Morrison and Co, will finance, design, build, maintain and operate the path as a user pays facility for 25 years, when it will then revert to council ownership.

I’m glad to see this get the go ahead. It is designed to be basically user pays and will be very useful for cyclists and pedestrians.

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