The Herald reports:
The $2.4 billion City Rail Link could be deferred until 2020 because of mounting concerns by councillors about its impact on rates, debt and big cuts to community services.
A number of councillors are having second thoughts about an early start on the rail project and support deferring work until the Government comes on board with funding in 2020.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown has locked $2.2 billion into a new 10-year budget to begin work on the 3.5km underground rail link in 2016 and completed by 2021.
On Wednesday, all 20 councillors and the mayor will debate the budget and make decisions on the rail project for public consultation.
The Government has agreed to fund half the project, but will not make a financial commitment until 2020, unless the council meets rail patronage and downtown employment targets.
If the Government funding only comes on board in 2020 (and even a change of Government in late 2017 wouldn’t see funding until 2019 probably), why cripple the Council with debt by insisting on a 2017 commencement.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are proposed to be cut from community projects, parks and local works; one-in-four households are up for double-digit rates increases; and motorway tolls and regional petrol taxes have been announced to plug a $12 billion transport funding gap over the next 30 years.
No wonder Councillors are getting queasy. They realise a vote for Len’s Budget may see them out in 2016.
The first option is for an overall rates rise of 2.5 per cent next year and 3.5 per cent for the next nine years.
The second option is for a 3.5 per cent rates rise every year and an additional $3000 charge for new houses. Mr Brown’s rating policy was for rates increases of 2.5 per cent for the first two years, and 3.5 per cent thereafter.
That will help with affordable housing!Tags: Auckland Council, cbd rail loop