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Nats’ City Rail Link delay to cost $500m

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, September 19th, 2013 - 46 comments
Categories: public transport, transport - Tags:

National is now ‘officially on board’ with getting the Auckland City Rail Link built. But they won’t start building it until 2020 at the earliest, and there’s no government money actually budgeted for that. Why not start building in 2015, like the Council wants? Maybe because that would mean committing actual funding. It turns out the Nats’ 5-year delay will cost $500m.

Here’s Julie Anne Genter revealing the cost of delay in the House yesterday.

Auckland Transport Blog sums it up well:

The fact that Brownlee claims it the project isn’t being delayed is staggering. The council and Auckland Transport have for a long time being planning for construction to start in 2015 and to be completed with trains running in 2020/21. The government’s announcement in June that they would support it was that they won’t even start a new business case until 2017 and won’t start construction till 2020. That represents a 5 year delay and as Julie Anne pointed out, adds a cost of $100 million per year to the total of the project for a total additional cost of $500 million.

The figure comes from this presentation to the Transport Committee at the beginning of the month. It also points out that many of the benefits that make the CRL look better in the longer term are due to the travel times and congestion getting worse. That would leave us with the situation where we have to sit waiting for conditions to get worse before we can start working to make them better. That’s sounds like ambulance at the bottom of the cliff thinking to me.



46 comments on “Nats’ City Rail Link delay to cost $500m”

  1. tracey 1

    i am sure if he had time the pm would remind us that they misunderstand and are wrong. He will make a call and sort out the facts.

  2. Molly 2

    ‘Officially on board” is unspeak for we have no intention of doing it, this is a sop to those Aucklanders who are National voters who support the CRL, who can now rest easy knowing that “we are officially on board”.

  3. BM 3

    This rail link will be a massive waste of money, longer the Nats put it off the better, much better and cheaper options are just around the corner.
    The future of public transport is not rail.

    Edit: Actually much cheaper options are all ready here

    Have 100s of these zipping around Auckland day and night.
    Problem solved.

    • Lightly 3.1

      did you miss the bit where that article said they won’t be ready until 2040?

      Also, the surface streets are going to be clogged by 2021. Your plan is to add more vehicles to them.

    • Kevin Welsh 3.2

      Obviously the words “…prototype technology, driver-free transit could be in Vancouver’s distant future.” bypassed you BM?

    • BM 3.3

      Driverless transportation has already hit the streets of the Netherlands and magnets in roads will soon guide buses in Shangahi.

      That’s the bit that interested me.

      • Molly 3.3.1

        The Netherlands is an interesting example for you to pick, considering the focus there on alternative forms of transport, as opposed to more vehicles.

        Cycling in the Netherlands – 59% of all trips in its cities.

        • BM

          If it’s a good idea and it works, I’m all for it, where the idea comes from is irrelevant.

          Driver less vehicles really is the way of the future especially for public transport.

          Instead of having large buses lumbering around the place costing a fortune to run, use much smaller buses maybe holding 10-20 people and have 100’s of those running around all day and night.

          Not having to pay a driver would create massive cost savings and you can use the existing roads so no need to build expensive stations and tracks.

          You could even make them electric powered to keep all the greenies happy.

          • McFlock

            Of course, what your little trip into the impractically-distant future neglects is that little buses are good for smaller loops, but it you want to shift a shitload of people through the suburbs and into the city at 8am each weekday, and back to the suburbs at 5:30, then a rail loop wins hands-down.

            So get your driverless buses for local loops, rail for the trans-metro migrations, and integrate the ticketing and timetables with each other and the ferries.

            But somehow I reckon your little fantasy about what might be done in the longer term future is meant to “derail” the conversation from why the nats are putting off until a “driverless buses” timeframe something that was scheduled for a couple of years away and needed yesterday.

  4. Jane 4

    How does delaying cost 100m a year? Is it an actual $ cost that has to be paid out or based on BCR, lost opportunities and the like?

  5. Intrinsicvalue 5

    The Council and Auckland Transport can do all the planning they like, but without Govt money and agreement, nothing will happen. If there was no fixed and agreed completion date to begin with, there can be no ‘delay’. This is just a left wing hand wringing exercise.

    • Lightly 5.1

      well, there is a delay, because everyone was planning and working towards 2015 (securing the land for the route etc)

      and then the government said, off on its own, 2020 … and hasn’t even committed money to that date.

      actually, the first bit of the CRL will be built in 2015 when a building by Britomart is demolished and rebuilt because it is cheaper than coming in again later to tunnel under,. That bit of tunnel will then sit there for at least five years waiting for the government to get its arse into gear… unless we have a new government.

    • Molly 5.2

      You may be referring to the Govt money that is being spent on the RoNS, some of which by their own calculations has a return of $20c on the dollar.

      The handwringing going on in this scenario has it’s own soundtrack….

  6. srylands 6

    The rail link has a cost benefit ratio of 0.4, much less than the TG motorway. (That includes all indirect and agglomeration benefits). So for the proponents of the rail link I would ask why you use CB analysis to pan TG, while you conveniently ignore such analysis of the rail link, and cheer an expensive capital project that will make minor improvements to congestion? By 2040 it will do little to change the car dominance of Auckland.

    • swan 6.1

      I would also be interested in the answer to this.

    • Comrade Coba 6.2

      Why of course you would have to pipe up with a gloomy picture Shrilly. I would have thought you would be all for high speed trains from the out skirts 
      of the Auckland regions. All your mates sitting on prime subdivision land are set to make a mint. Most forward thinking countries have, or are building high speed rail networks to allow ‘affordable housing’ out of cities. Urban 
      life will come alive around the proximity 
      of the rail corridor as well. Tarmac is so 70’s dude.

    • infused 6.3

      You should know that answer by now.

    • miravox 6.4

      “The rail link has a cost benefit ratio of 0.4”

      Assuming that’s from the 2012 Technical report that also states that including wider economic benefits the CBR is 0.9. No other option produces wider economic benefits.

      • felix 6.4.1

        So you mean when srylands said that the 0.4 figure included wider economic benefits he was lying?

        I find that hard to believe. He always seems so legit.

        • McFlock

          to be fair, he is a Wellington Australian. He probably misheard a quick report on ABC news a while ago.

          [edit]Although these days we need to look critically at any submission or report issued during this government – you never know what Nick Smith has [absolutely not been reading and demanding 99% edits or content removal and then making management take the blame]. 🙂

          • miravox

            “So you mean when srylands said that the 0.4 figure included wider economic benefits he was lying?”

            I dunno I just did that searchy and linky thing and found something that looked economicy.

            “Although these days we need to look critically at any submission or report issued during this government”

            Funny you should say that, McF. It appears the linked 2012 report was written to tone down the original findings in 2011 that Brownlee/Joyce rejected because they were too optimistic, or something.

            Aha – The press release from Joyce in 2011 might be where srylands got his [no longer relevant?] figure.

            • swan

              So lets recap on this little thread

              a) There is a report that came up with a BCR of 0.4 with WEBs

              b) There is a further report that came up with a BCR of 0.9 with the WEBs.

              The key thing is they are both below 1. So why is anyone supporting this boondoggle?

              • miravox

                ” So why is anyone supporting this boondoggle?”

                For the wider social, community and environmental benefits?

                Also the BCR has an arbitrary cutoff point of thirty years

                NZ calculation methods use a 30-year cut-off (i.e. for evaluation purposes, the tunnel provides no benefit after 30 years, even though much of Auckland’s earlier rail and road infrastructure already serves for much longer than that). In comparison, if using evaluation periods of 50 years (used in Australia), or 60 years (used in the UK), the total project benefits for the city rail link have been estimated as up to 6 times higher than with the 30 year time frame.

                I reckon I could support it on that basis, and when it comes down to it, even the government must realise the 30 year cutoff is a crock because they [begrudgingly] support it too.

  7. swan 7

    The $500m thing is inflation. i.e. it is nominal not real cost increases. In which case this whole thing is nonsense. Quite the opposite is true in fact – the NPV will be less by delaying the start date. We will be saving money.

    • handle 7.1

      Just imagine how much we will save by putting it off forever. Ponies for everyone!

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Swan…that’s moronic.

      • swan 7.2.1

        If you are referring to the AC, JAG, and the media reporting, agreed. It is bizarre that such a trivial non story has got any traction.

        • Colonial Viper

          Look, you may be an economic imbecile (along with your mates in Government), but fortunately the Tories are going to get fucked at the elections next year so it won’t matter.

          • swan

            I dont have any mates in government, but your complete lack of an argument and ad hom attacks are rather telling, not just of your position on this matter, but also of your character.

            • Colonial Viper

              Like I said, it doesn’t matter.

            • Colonial Viper

              If I have to make a reasoned attack, it’s around your foolish and inept dismissal of the massive cost increases as ‘just inflation’.

              It’s actual money which isn’t available or budgeted for, and represents many sources of cost increases, not just what you are calling ‘inflation’.

              • swan

                The point is, it is nominal dollars. When you measure the cost of something, particularly how it changes with time, you need to use real dollars because the value of a dollar changes (ask your grandad if you are still confused).

  8. infused 8

    Stupid loop with fuck all benefit. Of course it’s getting put off.

    • Comrade Coba 8.1

      Next time you drive down a dead end street thinking it was a link, think again. One way in one way out is ridiculous. There lies the problem fool!

    • framu 8.2

      said like someone whos never sat on the tracks waiting for a spare line into britomart, or seen just how packed the trains are during peak times.

      Just curious here – do you live in auckland? – because improving a well patronised transport system in a manner that will increase trip numbers, shorten travel times and get more cars off the road during rush hour is pretty damn attractive to a lot of aucklanders – even those who drive to work

      remember were meant to fit another million odd people in up here – how the fuck do you think the existing motorway/road network will cope if we dont make the rail network a circular loop?

      I do hope your not one of those cretins who think its just about making a nice little circuit for queen street shoppers

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      It’s not a loop but a link and it’s comes with massive benefit.

  9. Tracey 9

    “So you mean when srylands said that the 0.4 figure included wider economic benefits he was lying?

    I find that hard to believe. He always seems so legit.”

    thanks felix. this made me chuckle for a while.

    its funny how srylands can pull some facts out of his arse while when asked for others he never returns

  10. Ron 10

    I wonder why Auckland cannot go it alone and borrow the money from China over say 100 years. It would let us do it now and to hell with the Government. WE could negotiate for China to finance the loan and build the rail system. The cost would be spread out over three generations which would be the reasonable life of the system and would be much fairer way of funding.
    I would imagine China could build the whole system inside of a year if we wanted them to.

  11. Tracey 11


    auckland could borrow it from the government with a delay on having to pay back 50% for 100 years.

    seriously though one issue with your suggestiont is where do you draw the line…

    • Ron 11.1

      But the Government does not have the money and would be forced to borrow overseas. China has some 12 Trillion US dollars that it would love to invest somewhere and NZ would be a good safe investment. I also think China would be interested in doing the whole deal which may work out way cheaper than borrowing elsewhere and then trying to contract some company to build.

  12. Sable 12

    I don’t think this government actually gives a damn about the country. National are just treating their time in office as a free for all. A chance for their MP’s to line their pockets at everyone else’s expense before they finally get the boot.

    • tc 12.1

      +1 the general arrogance and rush to get such tasks as the charter schools/meridian float, mine it/drill it/dam it/frakk it, locking in PPP’s, RONS, CasinoConventionCentres etc etc

      Paraphrasing the late great George Carlin….the illusion of democracy….they are all owned.

  13. tracey 13

    the loop is one stage in the proposal, not the end game per se. generation z has a great campaign going if anyone is interested

  14. Matthew Hooton 14

    I think you’ll find that the Government policy is that construction of the loop will start in 2020 at the latest not, as you claim, at the earliest. Funding will not yet be in the estimates because they only go out to 2017.

    • Rhinocrates 14.1

      Gosh, we should take them at their word, shouldn’t we? Because they’re just so honest, like you. You know what “2020” means? “Never, if I have anything to do with it.”

      Christ Hoots, who the Hell do you think believes you about anything?

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