“The public is
understandably confused about the purpose of the Dominion Rd light rail project
and its role within the wider transport system. They are also confused about
the potential for heavy rail connections to and from the airport.
“This is a symptom of a
wider strategic issue of how heavy is to support the future growth and
development of Auckland given the significant investment in the Central Rail
Link currently underway.
practice, we would normally first ask what issue we’re trying to address –
congestion, urban regeneration or access to the airport? – and then we would
decide what investments are required.
“With the decision to
proceed with light rail effectively made before a business case has been
developed, best practice has been diluted but not the need to be clear about
what we’re trying to achieve.
“Is Dominion Rd light
rail designed to reduce congestion, support urban development or provide a
rapid transit link to the airport? Is it all three or something different?
“If the purpose is to
improve access to the airport, then the business case should demonstrate that
light rail better serves this objective than alternatives, including heavy
“If the purpose of the
project is to reduce congestion, then business case analysis must demonstrate
improved travel times for general traffic commensurate with the investment
being made by road users.
“Alternatively, if the
purpose of Dominion Rd light rail is to unlock and enable urban development,
then the business case must present a coordinated land use plan indicating the
residential and commercial property opportunity linked to the project’s
delivery. This should include the rezoning which is required and the timeframes
“Importantly, if the
objective is urban development, and if congestion and other transport benefits
are not improved, then funding should be primarily sourced from urban
development, rather than the National Land Transport Fund.
capital gains taxes and land acquisition via an urban development authority are
all options which should be assessed.
“A strong, transparent business
case, clarifying why the project is being delivered, its costs, benefits and
how it will be funded and delivered will address public confusion over the
reason for light rail and resolve the question of light or heavy rail to the
airport,” Selwood says.
For further information and comment contact
Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209