Rail News


October 29 , 2021

Auckland transport: Government unveils latest plan for light rail costing $15b

New Zealand Herald 
28 October, 2021 (New Zealand)

The Government's flagship light rail project in Auckland looks set to cost at least $15 billion, with a good chance the price tag will rise.

Transport Minister Michael Wood has unveiled three shortlisted options for the 22km light rail route from the central city to the airport with indicative costs of between $9b and $16.3b.

The options are light rail, which runs at street level and mingles with traffic; light metro that runs down a dedicated route above or below ground; and a tunnelled option which is a hybrid of the two.

An establishment unit set up by Wood in March to get the troubled project back on track, has recommended the tunnelled option to the Government costing $14.6b, not light rail costing $9b and light metro costing $16.3b.

These costs are "indicative" and have a 50 per cent chance of rising once detailed design work is undertaken.

The unit also considered a number of alternative options for high-frequency rapid transit along the corridor, including heavy rail and trackless trams, but ruled them out.

The proposal to tunnel from the central city and through the isthmus to Mt Roskill has several advantages. It gets around limited road space, avoids years of disruption to businesses and gives flexibility to connect with high-speed transit from the North Shore and West Auckland in future.

The tunnelled option would begin at Wynyard Quarter, have stops in the central city and near the university campuses and a total of 18 stations, many of which will not be known until the detailed design stage.

From Mt Roskill, the tunnelled option would run as a light rail line alongside State Highway 20 to Onehunga, Mangere and the airport.

The establishment unit has presented an indicative business case for light rail to Wood and Finance Minister Grant Robertson, along with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and deputy mayor Bill Cashmore.


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