Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CBD rail loop

We're very excited about the newly released map of Auckland's proposed CBD rail loop - much more excited than the government is about funding it. Here's a link to have a look yourselves.
According to the Mayor, the rail loop will "unleash the potential of the entire suburban rail network..." I hope so. Despite the promise of the draft Auckland Plan, Auckland Unleashed, (now the signed off ready-to-go Auckland Plan), it's hard to see much being unleashed in Auckland except for the odd stray dog that wanders past our place.
It won't just be rail commuters that benefit from the new link. If Auckland Transport gets this right, it should also improve getting around the city for cyclists and pedestrians (note to train people: please make the new carriage design has the the ramps for wheelchairs and scooters next to the carriage door), and contribute to the Council's desire to house more people in the central city as the new corridor becomes a desirable place to live. That's assuming the Council doesn't just wave through more crappy developments of the type prevailing on East Germany on Hobson, or the bottom of Customs St.
But back to the funding: the government has not commited to funding any part of the rail link to date. Once upon a time the funding would have come from the contestable national land transport fund, but as Minister of Transport, Stephen Joyce put a stop to the NLTF funding of metro rail projects so as to spend more on his pet Roads of National Significance. Either the funding needs to come from the NLTF again, or Treasury needs to stop subsidising big polluters and fund some public transport. And if the funding isn't forthcoming by late 2013, this needs to be an election issue.