Honestly, I could give a flying f*ck about the Americas Cup. I would much rather that the our money be spent on things that are core and urgent like the mental health crisis in Christchurch, which is a crisis that shames us all in our abandonment of post-quake Christhurch to their fate.
But given that Auckland needs light rail anyway, this is a smart approach from the Greens in terms of framing. It’s aimed squarely at Aucklanders and addressing one of the urgent needs around transport, and it does so by tying in to a high profile, well supported event that is going to happen anyway and which would also be enhanced by better public transport. The thing that really stands out though is the concrete plan to get the rail line up and running in a short, sharp timeframe. I also look forward to seeing more from the Greens on the necessary collaboration between central and local government in order to make that timeframe work.
The Green Party is announcing today that in Government it will fast-track the building of a new rail line to Auckland airport to be completed in 2021, in time for the next America’s Cup.
By light rail it will take approximately 43 minutes to travel from Wynyard Quarter, up Queen Street and Dominion Road to the airport. The $2.3 billion rail line will be a project of national significance funded from the transport fund. In Government we will also investigate additional funding sources for this project such as land value capture.
“Light rail to the airport is the most urgently needed transport project in Auckland, and it will start this year when we’re in Government,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“A new rail line will give people the freedom to by-pass congested roads and travel from the city to Dominion Rd and the airport easily and quickly.
“Light rail will mean far more consistent and shorter travel times for people traveling to and from the airport and surrounding suburbs.
“2021 is an ambitious goal that will require unprecedented cooperation between Government and Council, and we can make this happen.
“It’s absurd that National still thinks this project isn’t needed for another 30 years. In that timeframe the number of passengers travelling to and from the airport will double and the number of people working near the airport will triple.
“It took 6 years for National to realise the City Rail Link was a priority for Auckland. We can’t wait 6 years, let alone 30, for work on airport rail to start.
“Rail to the airport is just one of a number of transformative rail projects that the Green Party will fast-track in Government. We intend to announce more projects closer to the election,” said Ms Genter.