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.