Auckland businesses say critical questions must be addressed within the next phase of work on the Additional Waitemata Harbour Connections and Auckland Light Rail projects, following today’s announcement of preferred bidders for design and planning services.
Auckland Business Forum Chair Simon Bridges says progress towards the two mega-projects is welcome, as are efforts to approach planning in a joined-up way. All the same, there are major question marks hanging over the costs and benefits of both projects, and whether the approach so far is the right one.
“These are once-in-a-generation projects, and the next stage of work must provide Aucklanders – and the whole of the country – with certainty that we’re getting the planning right.”
With the Additional Waitemata Harbour Connections, Mr Bridges says the issue is not bridge versus tunnel, but rather the transport outcomes the project is going to deliver.
“What we need to see from the upcoming work is an approach that addresses long-term growth in demand, for all modes of transport. First and foremost, it has to help address congestion pressure and improve resilience on the Northern Motorway primarily, but it also has to deliver benefits right across the transport network – it can’t just be about connections between North Shore and the City Centre.
“On all these fronts, what we’ve seen in the plans so far is less than convincing.”
Meanwhile, Mr Bridges says the questions around Auckland Light Rail are more fundamental, and the consortium leading the design and planning work must help put forward a much stronger case to justify the project.
“Most of the discussion so far has focused on construction cost – how we’re going to afford it, and which projects are going to miss out as a result – but it goes much further than that.
“What about all of the additional infrastructure costs it’s going to impose on the city? Is the level of housing intensification that the project would require realistic or feasible? Is this something the community can genuinely get behind?”
Mr Bridges says the Auckland Business Forum looks forward to working through these issues with the project teams, with a view to getting the best infrastructure outcome for the city.
About the Auckland Business Forum:
The Auckland Business Forum is a group of Auckland-based business organisations formed to advocate for greater urgency around the planning and delivery of the Auckland transport programme. The group was formed out of concern for a long-running decline in the standard of Auckland’s transport infrastructure, and the subsequent impact on productivity and quality of life. The Auckland Business Forum’s membership incorporates broad-based user and industry perspectives on transport issues, and consists of:
- Auckland Business Chamber
- Civil Contractors New Zealand
- Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern)
- National Road Carriers Association
- New Zealand Automobile Association (Auckland District)
- Ports of Auckland Ltd
For more information, contact:
Chair, Auckland Business Forum
M. 021 322769
Coordinator, Auckland Business Forum
M. 027 839 9309